The case was brought by a 26-year-old Black university student who was born in Germany and is a German citizen. The ruling was made October 29 by the Higher Administrative Court for the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Koblenz.
The [two-year-old] case centered on an incident in December 2010, when police asked a dark-skinned student for his identification on a train ride between Kassel and Frankfurt. When the 26-year-old refused, a conflict with officers ensued and he was subsequently held at a police station. The young man, ultimately showed his ID, but also told officers that he felt their methods were reminiscent of those of the Nazi SS. Police charged the student with slander, but a court later dropped the case. pinions about this topic.
The man then sued the police for discrimination. During the court proceedings, the officers involved admitted that during controls of train passengers, skin color is a criteria police take into consideration, particularly if a person is suspected of being in the country illegally. In a decision that outraged human rights activists, the Koblenz administrative court ruled in the officers' favor this March, saying that under German law, on certain train routes known to be used by illegal immigrants, federal police are permitted to conduct controls on people who appear to be foreigners—even without suspicion of wrongdoing.
Der Spiegel has also published an interview with the plaintiff. The man says that he has been repeatedly harassed by police on this train line.
"In the two years prior, they had selected me about 10 times for a random check of my identification. It's a pretty rotten feeling. I was born and raised here. I am German. According to the anti-discrimination law in the constitution, skin color is not grounds for a spot check."
There is a relatively small number of Afro-Germans—up to 817,150—believed to live in the nation. The largest concentrations of Afrodeutsche are in Berlin and Hamburg.
But the ruling will likely have an even larger impact on the millions of neuen Deutschen—the New Germans—who are immigrants and children of immigrants. Many of these are overwhelmingly Turkish-German. "There are 16 million residents who are either immigrants or their children," reports Der Spiegel in "We New Germans." "Representing almost 20 percent of Germany's population of 82 million. Among those living in the country under the age of 25, one-quarter have foreign roots."
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