Crime: AfD local politician injured with knife in Mannheim

Crime: AfD local politician injured with knife in Mannheim

In Mannheim, an AfD politician is injured with a carpet knife. Another case of politically motivated violence, shortly before the elections? Or was the perpetrator simply mentally ill?

The video is only 22 seconds long, the images are dark and shaky. The person filming – an AfD candidate for the local elections in Mannheim – runs down a street in the Rheinau district and chases a young man in a blue T-shirt. He is carrying AfD election posters under his arm. “Stop!” shouts the man with the cell phone camera, and: “Lie down immediately!” The pursued man is holding an object in his hand, the police will later say it was a cutter knife. Then a scuffle ensues, the images are blurry, not much can be seen. The person filming groans. “Police! Help! Police,” he shouts. The man with the knife runs away. Then the recording ends – and leaves many questions unanswered.

One thing is certain: Once again, a politician in Germany has been injured in the street. The man’s name is Heinrich Koch, he is 62 years old and a local council candidate for the AfD in Mannheim. Political attacks on officials and elected representatives have been causing a stir for weeks, and in Dresden, for example, SPD campaigner Matthias Ecke was beaten so badly that he had to be hospitalized.

However, in the Mannheim case, the perpetrator’s motive is unclear. It is clear that violence against politicians of all stripes is to be condemned. But it is also clear that attacks and images of violence can very well be used to make politics.

The perpetrator’s motive is unclear

The police and public prosecutor’s office have not yet been able to confirm a political motive. Investigators report that the 25-year-old suspect damaged and stole several election posters late on Tuesday evening and that the AfD politician then pursued and arrested him. However, when the young man was arrested, there were clear signs of a mental illness, according to the police and public prosecutor’s office. “According to the current status of the investigation, there is no concrete evidence that the suspect recognized during the attack that the victim was an AfD politician.”

Nevertheless, the man removed AfD posters. The suspect is now in a psychiatric hospital – but even a mental illness does not necessarily rule out a political motive. The young man was brought before the investigating judge, who issued a detention order for attempted manslaughter.

For the AfD, the act was clearly politically motivated. Koch himself told the German Press Agency that there had previously been calls online for attacks on AfD politicians in Mannheim. He suffered cuts to his ear and stomach and spent the night in a clinic, Koch said. He had been stitched up.

His video shows him moving towards the young man and trying to confront him. What is no longer visible: Even after suffering the cuts, he continued to pursue the suspect, as he reported, because he did not notice that the young man had a knife with him or that he had been injured with it. “I did not notice that in the adrenaline rush, I wanted to confront him.” He switched on his cell phone video “also for personal protection”. As a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, he is trained in close combat and automatically protected himself during the attack.

Mayor: “Cowardly act is abhorrent and cannot be justified in any way”

Many in the AfD believe that left-wing extremists are behind the attack – but investigators cannot confirm this. “Islamism and left-wing extremism are the greatest threat to our democracy, but unfortunately this is still being ignored,” says AfD regional leader Markus Frohnmaier. He accused Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) of complete failure.

Faeser also strongly condemned the act against the AfD man. “There is never a justification for violence,” the SPD politician told the German Press Agency. “I wish the injured man a good and full recovery and thank the police for their quick intervention.” Mayor Christian Specht (CDU) called the act cowardly and abhorrent. Heidelberg’s Bundestag MP Franziska Brantner from the Greens said the escalation of violence against politicians from all parties was “in no way justifiable.”

It is unclear to what extent the commentators were aware of the perpetrator’s alleged mental illness at the time of the statement.

Source: Stern

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