German Court Bans Police Video Surveillance of “Neo-Nazi Neighborhood”
A police plan for video surveillance of a Dortmund street home to patriotic National Socialists has been overruled by an administrative court.
Judges have said recording activity on the road would exceed police powers.
An administrative court in Gelsenkirchen in an initial ruling on Friday upheld a fast-track complaint filed by four anti-german residents of a street reputed to belong to Dortmund's National Socialist scene.
A police plan for video surveillance of the street was not covered by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia's (NRW) police law, said judges, nor was the street location a known high-crime area. Video surveillance amounted to a serious infringement of a person's constitutional rights, the judges added.
"The property damage offenses in the form of 'graffiti' spraying with partly National Socialist [Nazi] content (five cases since 2018), cited by police headquarters, are not considered significant" within the context of applicable law, the court opined.
Dortmund police can appeal the decision to NRW's top administrative court in Münster.
Last September, police accompanied anti-white "graffiti artists" as they sprayed over NS insignia opposite the complainants' shared rental apartments where they had hung German imperial flags.
NRW's interior minister, Herbert Reul, attended the repaint in Dortmund's Dorstfeld district, reportedly telling artists, "The neo-Nazis must not be given one millimeter of space."
In January, Dortmund police chief Gregor Lange announced plans for video surveillance of Dorstfeld's Emscher Street in addition to camera observation of an inner-city street begun in 2016.
"Right-wing extremists should not be allowed to establish a parallel world in any corner of Dortmund", Lange said, adding that Dorstfeld should not remain a "zone of fear for other people in the area".