The Parliamentary investigation into the Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks which saw over 1,000 criminal complaints made against predominantly newly arrived migrant males has found the event was not spontaneous but arranged between the perpetrators.
The committee of inquiry investigating the attacks on behalf of the Düsseldorf parliament — the local legislature for the North-Rhine Westphalia region of which Cologne is a constituent part — revealed their latest findings revealing the role social media played in the attacks.
Team member and legal psychologist Professor Rudolf Egg told local newspaper the Express that for so many people to have turned up in one place at the same time could not have been down to chance. He said:
“It is therefore presumed there has been some form of agreement or consultation prior to the events, so that hundreds of men from the North African region should spend New Year’s Eve 2015 around Cologne Central Station.
“We suspect word of mouth in refugee camps or other residential accommodation, or to arrangements using social media such as Facebook or WhatsApp”.
While the psychologist said the predominantly North African migrants had arranged to congregate in great numbers on New Year’s Eve, the majority hadn’t gone with the express intention to rape and molest girls celebrating that night. Rather, when they saw local police were not doing anything about them engaging in other crimes, they become emboldened.
Professor Egg likened this to the well-known “broken windows theory”, where the threshold for offending drops when individuals realise they can be committed without repercussion. He said “this was exactly the case in Cologne on New Year’s Eve”.
Criticism was focussed on the police response in the immediate aftermath of the New Year’s Eve attacks which saw one child conceived by rape and 659 women recorded as victims of sexual assault.
A police report said: “The women were in this case surrounded by the group of people and groped above their clothing, jewellery stolen and was snatched. In one case, a 19-year-old German victim had fingers inserted into her body openings [vagina and anus]”.
Yet shortly after the full details of the unprecedented assault began to emerge, it transpired the low numbers of police on duty were down to a decision by the state interior minister, who had denied a request for re-enforcements from his police chief.
That police chief was then fired by interior minister Ralf Jager to restore public trust in the police. Later revelations showed how the interior ministry had ordered police to cover up the attacks by removing references to rape in their reports.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org