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Leftists wants police pepper spray ban

The socialist Left party is trying to ban police in North Rhine-Westphalia from using pepper spray in what could be a precursor to attempts to forbid its use by cops nationwide.

Leftists wants police pepper spray ban
Photo: DPA

Representatives of The Left made a motion in the western German state parliament’s home affairs committee Thursday proposing the ban under strong protest from police unions, according to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper.

At present, the measure doesn’t seem likely to pass parliament, although it’s creating widespread consternation among police.

The Left has said that pepper spray use by police contributed to the deaths of six people in Germany between 2009 and 2010, although it is unclear where it is getting its statistics. The party has also pointed to what they say has been its excessive use at the Stuttgart 21 protests and against football fans creating disturbances.

Though pepper spray is widely used by officers as a non-lethal method to subdue suspects, it can sometimes be dangerous to people suffering from asthma or allergies or people under the influence of drugs.

But the GdP police union said it remains an invaluable tool for police officers in a country where other supposedly non-lethal devices – such as high-voltage Tasers – aren’t generally used due to legal concerns.

“Police must be allowed to protect themselves,” said GdP spokesman Stephan Hegger, who told WAZ that banning pepper spray could have unintended effects, such as prompting police officers to use their nightsticks or guns more.

The GdP has said that violence against police officers has been increasing as of late, perhaps prompting an increase in pepper spray use.

Pepper spray has burst into the headlines lately in large part because of recent incidents in the US where police have sprayed apparently non-violent protesters.

Among the most controversial took place at a California university last month when a police officer repeatedly sprayed students affiliated with the Occupy movement who were protesting by peacefully sitting.

The Local/mdm

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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