German police accused of racism over death of Black man
"So, what happened was they came, approached him, and he opened the door. But as soon as he saw the police officers, he went into a panic and he wanted to close the door. But, they first opened the door, then forced him on the ground, and one police officer was even sitting on his neck," he said.
"Then, they took him downstairs to the ground floor, and then 13 more police officers joined and they all forced him on the ground. By that time, he had almost collapsed. So, I think his death was caused by this extremely brutal police violence and police action," he added.
According to witnesses and Mutombo's brother, the incident was similar to the killing of George Floyd in the US.
'This happens very often'
Basu, an expert on racism, police violence, and racial profiling, said Mutombo's death was not an isolated case, and that they were receiving more and more complaints about police brutality against Black people and migrants in Germany.
"This happens very often. And in fact, you'll see that in the last, say, three, four weeks, we've had various complaints from all over Germany, and especially complaints regarding police action against people of color, as well as people who are psychologically disbalanced.
"At my own counselling center, I would say we have something around two cases every day," he said.
According to Basu, who has been working for Reach Out for more than 20 years, many cases of police brutality go unreported and are not properly investigated by the authorities or punished.
"The trouble is that it's not only the police. What we do not see, or very often ignore, is that the whole justice system is so racist that they do not offer any justice to people of color who are being badly treated by the police, who are beaten by the police, even murdered by the police," he said.
Basu expressed regret that, due to this trend of racial bias, people of color and many migrants have lost all faith in the justice system and no longer believe their complaints will be taken seriously and followed up by an investigation.
Independent studies have shown that police violence and racism are often misclassified or go unreported in Germany's official statistics. According to a study by Basu and his colleagues, who have been monitoring such incidents and collecting information, more than 160 suspected deaths over the past two decades are attributable to police violence.
"We have realized that it is something like 169 deaths over a period of 20 years or so," he said, adding that none of the police officers involved in these deaths have been charged with either murder or manslaughter.
"They are hardly charged," he said.