On 15 March 2019 a second hearing took place in the trial against the Black refugee woman Fatou. Again about 40 people came to accompany the trial in solidarity. Fatou is accused of criminal trespassing in a Netto supermarket in Bamberg in June 2018 and throwing a can of cat food at a security guard. For this she received an order of punishment (Strafbefehl) of 120 daily rates (Tagessätze). However, she denies the accusations and stresses that the guard first performed a racist control on her and subsequently mistreated her. She appealed against the order of punishment. Despite thin evidence and contradictory statements by witnesses, Fatou was on 15 March found guilty of attempted assault (versuchte gefährliche Körperverletzung) and sentenced to 35 daily rates.
On the first day of the trial on 8 March the police witness had repeatedly described Fatou as „aggressive“, „uncooperative“ and „dangerous“, but could not say anything relevant about the accused acts. Therefore, for March 15, further witnesses were invited: the security guard who had controlled and abused Fatou, a Netto employee in a managerial position, another Netto employee, as well as her boyfriend, who presumably was in the supermarket on his leisure time at the moment of the „crime“. Each is well acquainted with the security guard.
All the invited witnesses accused Fatou of throwing the cat food can. In detail, however, their statements differed in important points, especially the version of the supposedly damaged party, the guard, deviated noticeably from the depictions of the other witnesses. Among other things, the guard claimed that Fatou slapped him in the face before throwing the can – a statement that nobody else could confirm.
On the one hand, the prosecutor stated that the guard’s statement should be „taken with caution“. On the other, she claimed that the differing of statements indicated that the witnesses had not agreed upon them beforehand. The judge took this point of view and came to the conclusion that the core event, the throw of the can, had been confirmed. The fact that Fatou was „only“ sentenced to 35 daily rates in the end was due to the fact that the judge assumed a diminished criminal liability because Fatou had ‚psychological problems‘. However, the structural causes of these ‚problems‘ , or of her anger, were not mentioned at any point during the trial: The repeated racist harassment inside and outside the AEO camp, including the racist bag control that marked the beginning of Netto episode. The court also failed to take into account that Fatou was the only one injured in the subsequent events and failed to question the white team spirit of the witnesses against an allegedly „hysterical“, „aggressive“ or „unstable“ Black woman. With its decision, the Bamberg local court contributes to the normalization of racist violence and the stigmatization of Black people and refugees.
Fatou showed courage: she did not accept the racist control and harassment by the guard and filed a complaint. Subsequently she got criminalized. Now she is threatened with another trial because she also filed a complaint against the police. We demand an end to racist suspicions and violence against refugees and their criminalisation! We will continue to stand together with Fatou and, if another trial is announced, call for trial monitoring.
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