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Emergency call understaffed? Researchers in Hanau are examining reports | Free press

Hanau (AP) – The Hanau prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the racially motivated attack on Thursday after reports of a potentially poorly staffed police emergency number in the city.

At the request of the German news agency, the Hanau authority said it was the allegation that the police emergency number could not be reached on the day of the attack. “As part of this procedure, the facts are first established and then it is checked whether criminal behavior can be established.”

The magazine “Monitor”, the Hessischer Rundfunk and the news magazine “Spiegel” had previously reported that on the night of the attack on February 19 last year, the emergency number of the police was overloaded and apparently insufficiently staffed. The Minister of the Interior of Hesse Peter Beuth (CDU) emphasized the swift action of the emergency services in response to the reports. It’s important that the police were very close to the crime scene at night, Beuth told the program “5:30 PM SAT.1 Live”. The federal attorney general will therefore explain how the emergency center was manned and how many calls were made.

On February 19, 2020, a 43-year-old German shot nine people with foreign roots in Hanau. The man had previously posted pamphlets and videos of conspiracy theories and racist views on the Internet. Afterward, the 43-year-old is also said to have killed his mother before committing suicide.

According to the investigation, documentation of the emergency calls shows that five calls to the emergency number 110 should have been registered between 9.55 pm and 10.09 pm. Witnesses reported that 110 could not be reached. Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter chairman Sebastian Fiedler said “Monitor” that it was “not unlikely” that with more knowledge of witnesses, one “would have had the opportunity to prevent subsequent acts.”

Following the reports, Hanau’s mayor Claus Kaminsky called for full clarification and the assumption of political responsibility. If the investigation into what happened on the night of the attack is correct, “it is a matter of political decency to finally educate the public and take political responsibility”. Given the probable circumstances that have become known, it is no longer acceptable for the Hessian Minister of the Interior in the Internal Affairs Committee to unconditionally praise the police work on the night of the attack.

At a committee meeting in the summer, Beuth praised the police work without ifs and buts in the presence of the victims’ relatives. Kaminsky said he believed the emergency services were doing their best. But when this best of staff shortages and organizational shortcomings reaches its limits, it should not only prompt reflection on the part of politicians. Even then, the next of kin reacted with incomprehension to the Minister of the Interior’s interpretation of the events. “Today’s media reports say it should sound like a joke to them.”

Regarding reports of a locked emergency exit at one of the crime scenes, a bar, the city’s regulatory office announced, “The city’s regulatory office has no evidence of this.” Due to the locked emergency exit, there were complaints and checks by the operator in 2013 and 2017. A few weeks before the attack, a new landlord took over the bar. “There have been no indications of closed escape routes for the public order office since November 2017, but certainly at the time of the new operator in 2020,” said a message.

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