How to intervene

The aim of an intervention should be to show solidarity with those affected and to symbolize to the police that there is a critical public, so that they cannot do what they want unobserved. But don’t put yourself in danger and refrain from physical actions against cops (§113 StGB). Don’t patronize those affected and don’t take this as a stage to get some street credits. Also do not try to defend the person because often you have no knowledge about them and a violation of a law you can not deny with certainty. It is usually not the criminalized behavior of the person that is vulnerable, but the legality of the police’s actions. This includes disproportionality, violation of Article 3 Grundgesetz and the fact that they provide assistance to those affected (see below).  Also a further support of friends of the affected persons can be helpful if they are overtaxed with the situation. What should not be the goal is to prevent at all costs that the person is taken along. If, for example, the personal data of the person cannot be determined, then there is the corresponding legal basis in the Saxon police law. The following paragraph will now deal with stages of intervention.

1. Observation

First of all, get an overview of the situation. To do this, you can first observe from a distance who is being controlled, what is being searched and what the mood of control is.You can also talk to other people standing around or friends of the affected person and act together with them.You have some time and dare? Then take a closer look and symbolize to the affected person and the police that you are there and want to become an active part of the action.

2. Getting in touch with the Affected

Speak now actively the affected person and offer to them your support. There is a legal basis for it in § 14 paragraph 4 sentence 1 Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (Administrative Procedure Act). Thus you can become the assistance of the affected person by simply agreeing to your question. This exists because of the requirement of a fair trial and is derived from the principle of the rule of law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (EU). In contrast to a deputy, you are not a representative, but “only” for (moral) support, in that you can act together. So everything you say is considered to have been presented by those affected if they do not object immediately. Anyone can become an adviser. A rejection by the police is only possible under very strict conditions. For example, in the case of unsuitability: there must be intellectual (lack of expertise) or emotional (personal attacks) reasons for this. Don’t be so quick to get rid of yourself, because this is a very strong instrument to accompany the control critically and to give the affected person the feeling of not being alone. The police may not send you away because of “disturbance of the measure” and if they try it nevertheless: contradict!Now it can really start: does the person have language problems and needs a translation? Should someone be informed?Tell the person that he or she has the right to ask for the name and service number of the police (wo)men. The legal basis for this is § 8 sentence 1 SächsPolG (Saxon police law).

3. Attention of the police

At the latest after the declaration of assistance, the cops will also become aware of you. Ask calmly and friendly about the occasion, the legal basis and the suspicion for the control (even if they don’t need it anymore when establishing a weapon free zone).Point them towards the prohibition of discriminatory controls. Article 3 Grundgesetz and the Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (General Equal Treatment Act) give you legal bases for this. If they have no legal basis (or suspicion), the control is inadmissible and illegal. You can ask them to stop the control and to delete all collected data.If they also want to collect your data, only what is written on your identity card is obligatory to say. They cannot legally prosecute you for assistance as long as you do not become insulting or physical. Do not engage in provocation or intimidation! Oberserving police is definitly legal (https://www.buerger-beobachten-polizei.de/beobachter-rechtlicher-status/verwaltungsgericht-freiburg-bestaetigt-recht-auf-polizeibeobachtung)

4. Supporting

As you progress, you can take pictures of the situation. You should prepare yourself so that cops can stress out when they see that. The legal situation with regard to photographing police(wo)men is difficult because they are the focus of the photograph as individuals and therefore, like everyone else, are protected by the “right to one’s own image”. However, you can argue that evidences are documented here and especially when physical violence is used by the police, there is therefore a public interest in the recording. All in all difficult, also because your camera or mobile phone can be confiscated. You can find a recommendable, but German, article on this at: https://www.rechtambild.de/2013/04/vorsicht-beim-fotografieren-von-polizisten/ and https://www.buerger-beobachten-polizei.de/rechtliches/rechtshilfe-demotipps#filmen. Collect data from witnesses who are also observing the situation in order to later have evidence of the progress of the control. You can also get loud and generate attention from outsiders. This will certainly annoy and unsettle the cops because they are now controlled by a wider public in their work.

5. Follow up Work

When the cops have left and the control is over you should follow up on what happened. You don’t need to have a guilty conscience that you couldn’t be a “real” help by preventing the control.Our goal is usually already achieved through critical accompaniment and solidarity. Often we cannot do more, but it makes a decisive contribution to a neighbourhood based on solidarity.Write now a Mail with a memory protocol and further questions, which you have, to kgp@systemli.org. Remember the arguments of the police. This will help you to prepare for the next time.Political subsumptionRacism and repression have never solved problems, only created new ones. To address the problems of the neighbourhood, different strategies are needed.

Originaly posted on CopWatch Leipzig