The Anis Amri Case: Police Incompetence, or Something Else?

As we reported last December, the Berlin truck jihadi Anis Amri was “known to police”, and had previously been in custody. He had committed crimes, and should have been deported, but was let go. According to media reports, he had been released on “orders from above”.

Now it turns out that various lower-level elements of the Berlin police are being investigated for obstruction of justice and altering documents related to the Anis Amri case. One has to wonder: were these officers simply covering up police incompetence and dereliction? Or are they the designated sacrificial lambs now facing the knife to save the careers of their superiors?

After it was alleged that files in the Amri case had been manipulated, the apartments and places of work of multiple police officers of the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin were raided.

The immediate environment of one accused officer was thoroughly examined, says the spokesman for the Berlin district attorney, Martin Steltner. This resulted in the searches of multiple other colleagues, but those are — according to the prosecution — seen as witnesses. Cell phones, laptops and various storage media were confiscated.

Berlin’s interior senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) has filed the criminal complaint after it became known that investigative reports about Amri were retroactively manipulated — they were trimmed and softened — after the terrorist attack in Berlin’s Christmas Market at the Gedächtniskirche. The reason for this was possibly to cover up the idleness and inaction of authorities before the terrorist attack. The question is whether the devastating attack could possibly have been prevented if Amri had been arrested for other criminal activities before he carried it out.

According to the state prosecutor, after the interior senator filed the criminal complaint, criminal investigative proceedings were initiated for official obstruction of justice and falsification of documents. The suspicion is mostly directed towards one officer in particular, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said.

During the previous week the board of enquiry established by the Berlin government fractions SPD, Left and Green Party had determined that there may have been mistakes made by authorities in the Amri case. The board wants the investigation to begin before the parliamentary summer vacation.

Initially the special investigator for the Berlin Senate, the former Federal Public Prosecutor Bruno Jost, will present an interim report by July 3rd. Jost has probably found manipulated reports concerning Amri. The board of enquiry explained that Jost’s investigations had uncovered grave blunders by the security authorities. The investigation is also expected to show structural questions regarding federal and local cooperation, and the entire architecture of security in the country.

On Monday the SPD, Left and Green Party demanded increased preventive work against radicalization as well as a joint-mutual anti-terror training center from Berlin, Brandenburg and the federal government. Together with the operation of “critical infrastructure” the security authorities should furthermore establish a situation room. Victims will be looked after better, and for family, relatives and survivors of terror attacks, a central point of contact must be established. Multiple Berlin media reported about this on Monday.


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