New footage of the Cologne sex attacks was released by police as regional Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger faced calls to resign by opposition.
The one minute clip shows the chaos that occurred, and at one point a woman can be heard yelling over the noise of the frenzied crowd shouting “You mustn’t touch me, you mustn’t touch me”.
Many on the night described young migrant men firing fireworks at police and at the Cologne Cathedral, which is confirmed in the clip as police struggle to keep the crowd under control. An officer is heard saying: “We can’t hold this with two people,” which matches up with eye witness reports who said that the police were massively understaffed and had an incredibly small presence on the scene.
The footage comes from around 11:30 pm, just ten minutes before police decided to attempt to remove everyone from the square which was packed with at least 1,000 young migrant men. The attempt to remove the men proved unsuccessful as the police lacked the numbers to disperse the huge crowd.
The footage was broadcast by state-owned WDR but was just a clip from the full video that was shown at an official inquiry held by the North Rhine-Westphalia regional government. The video shown at the inquiry made it clear that police had no control over the situation when they tried to shut the square down. It was noted that the few police who were at the scene did not have access to loudspeaker equipment to tell the migrants to disperse from the area.
Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger has come under fire for the handling of the investigation into the attacks and opposition leaders have called for his resignation. Jaeger, who is a member Social Democratic Party, was asked by the inquiry to resolve allegations surrounding the event such as reports that police were informed ahead of time and that the police were told to remove all instances of the word “rape” from reports.
Jaeger was questioned by the committee for over six hours on a number of topics. Some have noted discrepancies from what he had previously said on certain matters like getting rid of the word rape on the police reports. Previously Jaeger had said the Interior Ministry had not called the police to tell them to erase the word, but in the committee hearing he was a bit more ambiguous, saying he doubted it happened, but had no clear answer.
The committee also asked the minister why Wolfgang Albers, the former head of the Cologne police was forced to resign. According to Jaeger the former police chief did not respond rapidly enough to counteract the impression that the police were hiding the identities of the migrants who had been involved in the incident. He claimed that Albers’ actions had hurt the credibility of the Cologne police. Jaeger is expected to be called back for more testimony as the inquiry continues.