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Berlin: Authorities React to Violence at Swimming Pools and Excesses at Parks

This week, security officers at a public outdoor swimming pool in Berlin’s Neukölln district were attacked by a mob yet again. At some of the city’s parks, intoxicated party people keep on misbehaving. What is going on?

Berlin, July 22nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — On Thursday, the Berlin Police Department announced it was looking for people who had witnessed the latest violent incident at Sommerbad Neukölln, a public outdoor swimming pool in the German capital’s multi-ethnic Neukölln district. A website for the transmittal of information about Tuesday’s attack against security personell and video footage of the incident is now open. According to the police, witnesses can remain anonymous if they wish.

Irritant Gas

Eleven persons were injured at the swimming pool, including six guests, four security officers and one medic. According to the police, they inhaled irritant gas sparzed by the attackers and complained about irritation in their eyes and respiratory ailments. Two men said they had been hit in the face. Most of the injured were treated on site, but three of them had to be taken to hospitals.

Since June, two alarming incidents took place at Sommerbad Neukölln, a swimming pool in Berlin. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

On Wednesday, the Berlin Police Department commented on the incident. According to a statement, three men aged 19, 23 and 24 were arrested since they are suspected of injuring several persons at the Sommerbad. (In German, the syllable ‘Bad’ stands for bath). On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., they were part of a group of about 12 persons who were ordered to leave the premises because of a brawl. But, shortly after, they reappeared.

Baseball Bat

According to witnesses, they went after security personell and used irritant gas against people. But they had weapons as well. Three security officers who were targeted by the mob managed to flee into the pool’s observation tower and locked the door. The suspects tried to break it open. When the police arrived, the criminals fled in different directions.

Later in the evening, three suspects were stopped in a car and arrested. A baseball bat, a baton and a knife were found in the vehicle. None of the young men were intoxicated. The BPD’s criminal investigation department is now on the case. The other attackers are being sought while investigations into similar incidents that took place in late June are still ongoing.

‘Targeted Violence’

According to Falko Liecke, a city councilman for social affairs in Berlin’s Neukölln district, the perpetrators at the public pool resorted to “targeted violence”. The fact that there were many adolescents and young adults of Arabic origin in Neukölln was no justification for frequent incidents of this kind. Liecke stated the culturally shaped attitude towards the nation of law played a role here. In most cases, the culprits were young men who had been left behind. For this reason, they were reproducing “archaic images of masculinity”. These people needed to experience the dominance of the state under the rule of law. The Police Department did not mention the attackers’ ethnicity.

Berliner Bäder, the state-owned company that runs most of Berlin’s public swimming pools, is increasing security at the Neukölln location yet again, and the Berlin Police Department will be present there more. In the meantime, the police are also confronted with a reoccurring issue of a different kind. This is about aggressive party people who mess up the German capital’s parks at night and keep other residents from sleeping with their noise.

Alcohol Ban

The phenomon was first registered in the spring of 2020, when Berlin’s clubs were closed because of the Corona pandemic. But now that the clubs are open again, in spite of the rising number of Coronavirus infections, the parks are still being abused. Police officers have been attacked by groups of drunk individuals in parks on a regular basis. Berlin’s Mitte district now pulled the emergency brake. It just imposed an alcohol ban at both James-Simon-Park and Monbijoupark. The measure is supposed to remain in place until September 11th, 2022.

Party people are messing up Berlin’s parks. This is the less disgusting part. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

The problem is not limited to Mitte though. In Neukölln’s Hasenheide park, party people keep on appearing on weekends as well. Their techno beats keep people awake all night. They use bushes as toilets, throw their trash all over the place and break bottles everywhere. So far, nobody has banned nightly parties or the consumption of alcohol there.

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