Authorities in Germany have launched an investigation after a police officer fatally shot a 16-year-old Senegalese boy during a confrontation. According to The Associated Press, the fatal incident ignited a debate on the European nation’s police officers using excessive force.
The incident reportedly happened at a youth support center in Dortmund on August 8. The interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Herbert Reul, said the shooting “will be cleared up 100 percent.”
“But it has to be done fairly,” Reul added.
Authorities said the deceased teen, who is an asylum-seeker, charged at officers with a knife. Social workers reportedly called police because they thought the boy wanted to commit suicide. The unidentified teenager was shot multiple times.
The fatal incident sparked a protest in Dortmund on Wednesday as people alleged the police used excessive force. But Reul said the responding officers tried to de-escalate the confrontation before opening fire on the teen.
“First, plainclothes police officers went there and tried to calm him down. When that didn’t work, they tried to distract him with irritant gas,” Reul said. The officers also discharged a stun gun on the deceased teen. But that did not yield any results, Reul added.
“As the person got more and more agitated, I’ll say more tense, more aggressive, running toward the police officers … it was a question of – does he stab — or do the police shoot?” Reul said.
Senior Public Prosecutor Carsten Dombert said the deceased teen was suffering from psychological problems, and he had gone to a psychiatric hospital to seek treatment. That was before the shooting.
Reul said the officer who fatally shot the teenager is being investigated.