A viral video showing members of a “people’s militia” tackling an abusive Iraqi shoplifter has been watched over a quarter of a million times in just 24 hours since it was uploaded.
The short clip, which depicts an incident in Arnsdorf, Germany on Tuesday, was uploaded to uncensored media sharing site LiveLeak in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Mirrored on YouTube but quickly taken down for violating site regulations, the video was watched hundreds of thousands of times in just a few hours.
German police have now confirmed the incident, reports Die Welt, and that the so-called “refugee” had already been the subject of police attention twice that day. On both occasions, he had been returned by officers to a psychiatric clinic where he was staying.
A police spokesman has confirmed that officers are considering charging the migrant for his abusive behaviour, and the three vigilantes for unlawful detention.
In the video, a young man in casual dress can be seen wielding two bottles — which appear to contain wine — and arguing with the store attendants who want him to pay for his purchases before leaving. The man had already confronted staff over a prepaid phone call card he had been unable to activate.
In desperation, one member of staff suggests to another to call the police — to which they wearily reply officers had already been to the store twice that day.
The film then shows the entry of a three members of a so-called “Bürgerwehr” (people’s militia) — strongly built gentlemen who wrestle the bottles from the hands of the would-be thief.
As he is being bundled out of the store, the so-called “refugee thief” shouts “pigs!” at the men, while they remark as he is bundled off “out you go!”
Police report that after the man was taken out of the store, the vigilantes used cable-ties to restrain the man pending the arrival of officers.
A woman observing the scuffle remarks: “It’s sad that we need to rely on a neighbourhood watch group,” reflecting the growing prominence of vigilante groups across Europe who are increasingly stepping in to supplement police.
Breitbart London reported in January on the foundation of such vigilante groups in Germany, which called themselves “citizen protection leagues”. While the groups attracted great deals of interest, they were strongly criticised by police who said: “for public security in Germany the police are responsible… deliberately searching for offenders is not a job for the citizen”.
The groups have already seen successes in Sweden, where the “Soldiers of Odin” group stopped a robbery in progress and performed a citizen’s arrest on the attacker, handing him over to police officers when they arrived on the scene.