Love Parade Trial 2020

The following are a collection of posts for German news outlets on the the Love Parade Trial. We are using Google Translate to convert to English, but including the original media link.

We will endeavour to update this as often as possible.

Due to other commitments we have not been able to follow the trial as closely as we would like, due to this, we are providing translations from blog.wdr.de a dedicated to the daily process of the trial.

TRIAL ENDS

Day 184: If everyone is a little guilty, no one can be punished

On the last day of the trial, only one had the floor in the courtroom: Presiding Judge Mario Plein. Nobody was allowed to ask questions or comment. The proceedings were stopped and Mr. Plein now wanted to make a three-hour statement, it said. After these three hours, everyone in the hall should have understood why the Loveparade disaster had resulted in 21 deaths and at least 650 injuries. In making this declaration, the judge uses information and pictures from the 3800-page expert opinion of the expert Prof. Gerlach. Those involved in the process must not question these theses today. The judge summarizes the most important points of the report. And I summarize the main points of the judge here in the blog. Originally, ten process days were scheduled for the expert.

Misguided flows of people

In my opinion, the most important thing from what the judge said is that incorrect planning at two critical points should have led to the deadly crush:

1. The separation systems, the controlled inlets on both sides of the tunnel are said to have caused congestion due to their design and construction. The mass of people who built up in front of the barriers is said to have been led into the tunnel by a communication breakdown in the period in which other measures by police chains were in progress. These police chains are said to have been built in the belief that the entrances were closed.

2. The second critical point, which Judge Plein names, explains why there was a traffic jam above the ramp on the event site. Three crowds of people are said to have met on this surface: a) the people who wanted to finally see the parade after walking through the city. b) the people who wanted to leave the party again c) the people who were celebrating and dancing alongside the floats (music trucks). There simply wasn’t enough space for these three flows of people at this point. That is why the people stopped at the top while the coming visitors dammed up on the ramp.

Many are to blame, none are punished

In addition to the planning errors on these two points, the court also points out errors by other actors. After all, the regulatory office, building authority, state police, federal police and the fire department were also involved in the planning of the whole and made mistakes.

I think one could now ask why charges were not brought against those responsible in these areas. Is it because the investigative authorities and the public prosecutor’s office were unable to collect enough evidence for an indictment? Or you can put up with the fact that there were many who are partly responsible for the misfortune and that is precisely why nobody can be punished individually.

The sermon to the mother

In the end, judge Mario Plein addressed the only co-plaintiff who is sitting in the room today despite the corona pandemic. It is the mother of a deceased. Judge Plein expresses understanding. For him it was the hardest three years of his life. The court had clarified how it happened. He also tried to put himself in the mother’s seat. He understood that she would rather have him present a villain to her. But there is simply not one here. He hoped that after some time she would be satisfied with his explanation. From today’s well-stocked press series I only hear like a colleague mumbling: “What is this sermon about now?” For me, too, the speech gives the feeling that the victim is being taught here. Aren’t judges more likely to speak to the accused after their verdict? But they somehow play a supporting role.

The judge’s undoubtedly well-meaning last words spoil my impression of the procedure. From the point of view of many process participants and observers, the criminal chamber has done an extraordinary job in the past three years. The job of a committee of inquiry, which is primarily not their job. Nevertheless, I would have wished that the victim families had had the opportunity to be present and to speak up that day. Even if it is legally irrelevant, in my opinion it would have been a more worthy conclusion for everyone.

Day 183: Competing security companies

For 15 years, one company was solely responsible for safety at the Love Parade. That changed in 2010. Why? We don’t experience that today. However, the head of this experienced Loveparade security sits on the witness stand. Shortly after the catastrophe, the 48-year-old entrepreneur from Cologne is said to have indicated in an interview with Spiegel that lack of competence and the division of tasks among various security companies could have led to misfortune. Today he contradicts this statement. The security expert describes the cooperation with the individual actors as problem-free and harmonious. During the break he walks towards the accused and shakes hands with each other, accompanied by small talk, in a friendly manner. I am bewildered. That a witness in the hall approaches the accused so demonstratively

Security at a bargain price?

Since 1996, the witness and his company have gained important experience at the Loveparades in Berlin, Dortmund and Essen. And yet the organizer of the Loveparade 2010 decided against giving him sole responsibility for safety. The long-time business partner should suddenly apply to the competition for the job and submit offers. In the end, he was awarded the contract only for the festival site. He provided 350 employees for this. Far less than in previous years. The areas in the entrance area, the access roads and the tunnel should monitor others. Has Lopavent tried to cut costs with this tendering process? How did this division affect planning and especially the day of the event?

No cooperation with the competition

Many questions remain unanswered for me. The witness did not question the decision of the organizer. The 48-year-old remains very reserved about the four other companies that provided folders for the event, his competitors.

His company also offered to take over the entrance controls at the tunnel. “We knew that this was a challenging situation and not a sure-fire success.” he says. Another company was finally awarded the contract. He doesn’t know why Lopavent decided so. When asked later whether he could support the other company with additional staff at the entrance, he declined. In principle, one does not cooperate with other security companies in one area.

Conclusion

I have the impression that the witness is very careful to maintain a certain image. He looks extremely cheerful and chatty to me. It emphasizes the harmony in the cooperation of all involved. He distances himself from previous, critical statements and contradicts himself in the process. During his testimony, he tries to joke and sometimes turns to look at the accused to see if they laugh too. Even if I can only look the accused on the back of the head, I do not have the impression that someone agrees.

Day 182: “Shambles” among the folders

The first witness on this process day is the employee of a security company. On the day of the event, he was originally assigned to the emergency exits in the eastern event area. But he was then sent to a mission to the entrance and exit area above the scene of the accident. There he took care of the fences on the embankment.

improvisation

The 34-year-old from Duisburg is full-time in the security service. On July 24th, 2010 he says he has not entered the ramp, the scene of the accident. It was also not intended that he leave his post at one of the emergency exits. But at around 4:00 p.m., he was ordered to repair fences and take visitors out of restricted areas towards the ramp. The witness reports that there was a dense crowd. “People stood body to body. My colleagues pushed me through the crowd from behind. On the way, he was separated from some colleagues, explains the security guard. Then he improvised and instructed other files on site to dismantle and put away broken fences. There would have been visitors in the embankment area, which was actually closed. The fences were bent or had fallen over completely. Visitors would have looked for alternative ways or would have sat on the fences and cheered the passing floats from there.

Chaotic conditions among the folders

The second witness was also used as a file on July 24, 2010. The 65-year-old Aachen retired official occasionally worked for an Aachen security company in 2010. On the morning of the day of the event, he and his colleagues went to Duisburg. There was no proper briefing on site. After “wandering around” on the premises, he and seven other files were led to the ramp head. But they would not have known that they were at the only access to the site. It was her job to prevent the visitors from stepping onto the float lane and possibly being caught by the cars. At some point, however, many of his colleagues had disappeared. They later told him that they preferred to go with the floats because it should have been more interesting. Their presence was not checked. They weren’t even replaced for breaks. “For me personally, it was a shambles.” says the 65-year-old pensioner. Many people stopped. The witness says that his job was to keep people off the float lane. From his location, he could see the police chain on the ramp. It was therefore located in the area in which so-called “pushers” were to persuade visitors to continue walking. This should prevent the traffic jam in the entrance area of ​​the site. This concept is alien to the witness, he says. He couldn’t remember such folders either. Many people stopped. The witness says that his job was to keep people off the float lane. From his location, he could see the police chain on the ramp. It was therefore located in the area in which so-called “pushers” were to persuade visitors to continue walking. This should prevent the traffic jam in the entrance area of ​​the site. This concept is alien to the witness, he says. He couldn’t remember such folders either. Many people stopped. The witness says that his job was to keep people off the float lane. From his location, he could see the police chain on the ramp. It was therefore located in the area in which so-called “pushers” were to persuade visitors to continue walking. This should prevent the traffic jam in the entrance area of ​​the site. This concept is alien to the witness, he says. He couldn’t remember such folders either. This should prevent the traffic jam in the entrance area of ​​the site. This concept is alien to the witness, he says. He couldn’t remember such folders either. This should prevent the traffic jam in the entrance area of ​​the site. This concept is alien to the witness, he says. He couldn’t remember such folders either.

Two more security staff are expected to testify tomorrow.

Day 181: Lookout and Digital Pencils

The first witness on this process day is a 29-year-old installer from the Cologne area. He got the security job at the Loveparade 2010 through a colleague in the volunteer fire department. He was standing on an observation post above the ramp. From this “lookout”, on which a surveillance camera was also installed, he was able to survey both the party area around him and the scene of the accident below.

communication

The witness’s equipment included a radio. He informed his operations center about the police chain at the ramp early on. He had been told that that would dissolve again. But as we know today and as can also be seen on the video recordings shown, the opposite happened. He had been told by radio that the information would be forwarded.

“People became more and more aggressive”

“The fuller the area became, the more aggressive people became,” says the witness. He was thrown at with stones and a full water bottle. “People have called for us to open.” he says. His radio reports didn’t help, he says. The ramp continued to fill. Again and again there were wave-like movements in the crowd. When some people climbed over the light poles and the container, he also helped to pull them up. The details of the catastrophe and the description of the injured are omitted from the survey. At some point, a police officer threw him a knife and applied to cut off banners. This covered the dead, the witness says. He worked until after midnight and then went home with his colleagues.

The digital pencil

The second witness came from Berlin today. It is a 34-year-old man who worked on the creation of plans and maps for the Lopavent company in 2010 as part of a part-time student job. When it was about a year ago in the process of planning the site and the fencesthe role of this witness already played a role. At that time I was amazed that a student had to be hired to operate a special computer program. The witness then studied architecture at the University of Bochum and is now involved in real estate development. At that time he was the “digital pencil”. Over a period of six weeks, he had entered changes in the site, fences, emergency exits, stages, etc. in the digital plan. His statement doesn’t help me gain more insight today. The witness can no longer remember any concrete discussions, appointments or conflicts during the planning.

Tomorrow we continue with two security employees.

Day 179: “We are almost desperate”

Today’s witness is a police officer. At the Love Parade, he was in the police headquarters as head of a leadership group. Translated this means: He was the link in the communication chain between the site manager responsible for the site and the staff unit, which coordinated the entire deployment – including the access routes. He couldn’t make a decision, he couldn’t and couldn’t even get in touch with other units. Not even to ask to close the isolation systems until the crowds in the tunnel and on the ramp would have dissolved, the Bochum official emphasizes again and again: “We could only pass on requests.” To the staff unit.

A completely unknown colleague

Nine years after the accident, the memories of the 59-year-old are extremely sketchy. However, he obviously has a very good name memory, which I meanwhile envy him violently as a proven zero in this area. It is all the more astonishing that he cannot even remember a colleague, who is even by name in plans he wrote himself.

It’s dripping

The lunch break is brought forward today because it is raining heavily outside and apparently the water has found its way. Of all places in the place of the presiding judge, who seems to be fully recovered after illness, but asks to seal the leak in the roof during the break. It remains unclear whether this was finally successful, but after the break it no longer drips – at least not in the hall.
The prosecutor has no questions for the witness, and the co-lawsuit has few questions. But the defenders start with great detail and persistence. However, these are all questions that the witness cannot answer or can only answer in part – he simply cannot remember, or at least logically close, and he shouldn’t.

And the gain in knowledge?

At the end of what is now an exceptionally long process day, few tangible insights remain. Communication within the police, but also between the police and the organizer, was a disaster, and those who should have had an overview of the big picture apparently had none. For me, this is another aspect that led to the accident, but by no means the only one and I am very excited about what the judge will have to say from the end of March. Before that there are still several trial days and several witnesses – two of them tomorrow.

Day 178: Process day with obstacles

Today the witness is on time , but we don’t learn much from him today. Basically it’s about fences and how they were set up and where. After less than half an hour, the former steward and today’s gardener are released.

Not interrogable

The second loaded witness does not come. He had a certificate issued by his doctor. The patient was said to be severely diabetic and the symptoms had suddenly worsened with the load. Because the man still suffers from the psychological stress that he suffered at the 2010 Love Parade, he can’t get the pictures of the dead out of his head again.

One hour of video

The judge decides to use the time saved to introduce another video. They are pictures from the helicopter of the federal police. We see tracks, the highway, the terrain and its surroundings. How the area becomes fuller and fuller, how people sometimes find their own ways to get to the Love Parade, but also to get away. The crowds in the tunnel and on the ramp. How an almost passed out young woman is passed to the stairs and pulled up.

Distance and proximity

We see how people break into the tunnel like a wave after opening the separation systems, how much space is actually still on the site away from the tunnel and ramp. And while we have the overview, I think of the past week and how oppressive “Parade 24/7” was in the Moerser Schlosstheater. The piece of misfortune creates a pull that draws the audience into the deadly crowds: to the sound of techno beats and repeated police radio protocols, more and more large, black balloons are stuffed onto the stage for the actors until they can hardly move and the open network to the auditorium breaks. I am amazed that the filmed reality is less close to me today than the fiction last week. But maybe that’s because it’s the top view.

Day 177: excitement around the witness

That had not happened in the 176 trial days before: At 9:45 a.m., a quarter of an hour after the scheduled start of the trial, judge Mario Plein stated that the witness “did not appear today without an apology.” He instructed him “immediately.” to be shown by the police ”. Specifically, this means that in a small town in the Rhineland, the police should now look for the man and take him to the courtroom. The judge obviously does not want to give away another day after a break of several weeks due to illness.

Alternative program

While the police are unsuccessful in trying to reach the man at home, an alternative program to interviewing witnesses is running in the courtroom: surveillance videos from the Love Parade. They are the well-known pictures of people in a panic, accompanied by an oppressive mix of desperate screams and techno basses. After about 45 minutes, the judge stops the video “because there are resuscitation measures. And we don’t want to look at them for no reason ”

The witness is coming

Finally, the judge receives the message that the witness was able to be reached at his place of work: “I don’t know how the police managed it, but I have to do it.” His absence was apparently due to a misunderstanding. In this respect, the witness faces no further consequences. Judge Plein finally welcomes him benevolently in the early afternoon.

In terms of content, the day goes without surprises. The 58-year-old witness, now a gardener, was employed as a folder at the 2010 Loveparade on behalf of a security company. He tells how he converted individual fence elements on the ramp prior to the start of the event, how he warned Wildpinkler during the event and how he helped secure the entrance areas.

At 16:31, his colleagues had opened a fence element at the west entrance on the instructions of the police to make room for an ambulance. This enabled the ambulance to continue its journey, but at the same time resulted in visitors now being able to flow freely onto the site. Video recordings prove this. The survey will take place in the meeting on February 25th. continue.

Day 176: let in, don't let in, let in, don't let in ...

The court is still dealing with the question: Why were the fences at the west entrance on Karl-Lehr-Straße opened? The witness, whose testimony we are hearing, had checked the pockets of the visitors at the entrance facilities. He did not have a managerial role in the security service. However, he is said to have heard a conversation between the head of the West Entrance division and a high-ranking policeman about the opening of the intake systems.

The born security guard

I have now seen a number of men on the witness stand who said they worked in security until 2010. But the impression I get from them is another one that I would have initially expected from strong security guards. When they try to put their experiences from the disaster of July 24th, 2010 into words, they seem sensitive, shy, almost fragile to me. Someone even wants to refuse to testify. The term trauma hovers over my head in a thought bubble. The witnesses emphasize that after the accident, they received no professional help to deal with the disaster and that they have not been able to work in the security service since that event. Preceding these personal impressions, there is the following to report from today’s process day.

Who were the police officers?

The witness explains: “We should let people in. We should close the locks later. Then we should let people back in and then we shouldn’t. ” He doesn’t remember exactly when the instructions came. He worked on instructions, he says. He received the instructions from two superiors, one of whom testified in December 2018. The witness is said to have heard how this superior, the  area manager of the west entrance , received an order from a police officer to let the visitors uncontrollably through the locks into the tunnel. The central question is: who was this policeman? The witness is shown portrait photos of various officials. He cannot clearly identify the official.

In this context, there are two officials who have not been identified and may be of importance for clarifying the situation. One policeman who is said to have given the order to open and another who is said to have given a folder (which testified on January 28, 2020) the tool for opening the fences.

“Have the fences been opened to let the ambulance through?”

Even today, the video recordings from the intake system are studied in more detail. A bird’s eye view of the West intake system. On the left side of the picture you can see an ambulance that seems to have got stuck in the crowd. The witness says that the ambulance should have been driving through the emergency lane on the right. But he no longer knows whether that was the reason the fences were cleared away. In any case, the picture shows that the ambulance can drive through after opening, presumably because the pressure of the crowd in front of the vehicle dissolves. The witness cannot confirm this.

There is not much more input in the process today. The survey ended after almost two hours. The next week will continue.

Day 175: A trial day in three acts

In my view, the central question that hangs over the witnesses and evidence that is currently being dealt with is: Why did the police and stewards at the entrance on Karl-Lehr-Straße remove the fences and a large number of people unhindered in the Tunnel left? And how did the police blocks on Düsseldorfer Strasse affect the disaster?

In view of the 10th anniversary of the Loveparade catastrophe, some theatrical performances are coming up that take up the topic. That is also an issue for us as process observers. Structuring the process day in three acts is somehow obvious to me today.

Act 1: The unwilling witness

In the first part of the day, a witness testifies that he worked as a security guard in the tunnel, the west entrance (Karl-Lehr-Straße) and the lower ramp area. The 41-year-old from Cologne initially refuses to testify and, given the prison sentence threatened by judge Mario Plein, changes his mind.

The security guard explains that he was well acquainted with the crowd manager , his boss. Before the Love Parade, he had worked in the security industry for 12 years. The crowd manager trusted the witness. Therefore, he was able to move without direct instruction and decide where his help was needed. When there was “Not am Mann” at the entrance, he left the ramp area and vice versa.

On a video from the tunnel that is being shown, the witness recognizes himself and a colleague next to a police car. He ran alongside this vehicle and helped the officials get through the crowd. That is routine. There were paramedics in the car. Some got out on the way to help people. He accompanied the car to the ramp. There he then dedicated himself to the people at the stairs.

In his opinion, the police car did not cause wave movements in the crowd. This car has been a common theme in the process. I always wondered what he was doing there. Why the police drove a vehicle through the crowd. I have never heard of any paramedics in the trial, according to this witness.

At a certain point, the witness shuts down again. When it comes to panic in the crowd. You know the scenario. He didn’t have to tell it. He doesn’t know why that happened. The judge seems to have heard enough at this point. The witness can go.

Act 2: Through the lens of the police

After the testimony has ended, the viewing of police evidence videos continues. The material is uncut and has not yet been published. These are videos that a camera must have made that was attached to the top of an emergency vehicle. It is mainly aimed at a police barrier at the intersection in front of the tunnel. The material is not being discussed today. The conclusions that those involved in the process will draw from the evidence will be shown in the coming weeks.

Act 3: assigning blame

Finally, one of the lawyers makes a statement. It is a statement on the testimony of the man who is said to have been the “right hand” of the crowd manager and who testified a few weeks ago. It is a long version that cannot be summarized here. It is about the credibility of the witness and his superior, the crowd manager. An essential aspect seems to me that the lawyer particularly emphasizes the lack of six folders in the ramp area.

This absence is said to have led to disaster as to how a single car accident on the highway could lead to a mass collision. It is therefore not his client who is responsible, but the crowd manager. Because he sent six folders to accompany a celebrity on the site. A daring thesis, I think. Let’s see which await us tomorrow.

Day 174: fences and barriers

The content of the process day is divided into two today. At the beginning we learn from a former employee of a security company how it came about that he opened the fences at the west entrance of the tunnel and many visitors were able to flow in uncontrollably. After this witness, video recordings of the police are shown, on which one can see the barriers on Düsseldorfer Strasse.

Who was the policeman

The 58-year-old from Oberhausen worked as a security guard for a company in 2010 that was posted at the entrances with around 30 people. His former boss testified two weeks ago.

The 58-year-old has already testified to the police that he was the one who screwed on the fences next to the intake systems. As can be seen on the surveillance camera, many people ran into the tunnel in an uncontrolled manner. A police officer, whose identity has not yet been clarified, handed the witness a spanner through the fence and asked him to open it.

The questioning of the witness is short. The Oberhausen resident tries to answer all questions. He went to the police for questioning after the Love Parade disaster. A lawyer from Lopavent would have been there. “After that you were alone.” He had to take care of the mental processing privately.

Police videos

Videos will be shown in the second part of the process day. There are pictures taken by various police officers at the dams on Düsseldorfer Straße. They look as if they were shot with a helmet camera. As a spectator, I feel like I’m in the middle of the action. Some of the recordings are equipped with a time code. In contrast to permanently installed surveillance images, they seem more subjective to me. As it was said today, these recordings will probably play a role in the expert opinion of Professor Gerlach.

Pre-block

According to the timecode, the first lock is set up at around 2:30 p.m. by police vehicles. There is a brief commotion. A loudspeaker announcement can be heard. The road will be closed, otherwise a mass panic could occur. People still seem quite relaxed.

The later it gets, the more people you see on the pictures. Countless heads that stand still. Then you see people jumping, climbing, somehow squeezing through somewhere. Barriers that overflow and are then brought back under control by officials. Sometimes the pictures look chaotic and yet the police seem to have the situation under control. There is no clear overall picture. At about 5:30 p.m. loudspeaker announcements can be heard again. The event was canceled. People are asked to go back to the train station. But it takes hours for the mass to dissolve. At three o’clock in the morning you can hear the policeman behind the camera saying that the operation and these recordings have now ended. The lawyers in the hall announce want to comment on the recordings in the coming process days. The trial will continue tomorrow.

Day 173: A protocol without signature

It is the second day of questioning a witness who, as he says, has ousted a lot. Today the head of a security company would do it differently, he says. Since then, everyone in his company has had to write everything down precisely if an incident occurred. At that time he did not write a memory protocol. However, such is presented to him. An employee of Lopavent is said to have written it and presented it to him for signature. In it she is supposed to have written down what the witness was supposed to have said during a night meeting with the three accused. However, the witness today can neither remember the content of this conversation nor the document.

Question: “Do you know the term impressions?” Answer: “Not really”

In this protocol, under the heading “Impressions”, for example, the police and medical services were not present or were stationed too far away. In addition, the witness was unable to identify any group formation or panic in the tunnel and therefore considered it completely unjustified to completely close the entrances. The witness distances himself from these statements today. For one thing, he cannot explain what the word “impressions” means. On the other hand, he hadn’t been able to look so far into the tunnel from his position to see anything. He could only see the crowd in front of the tunnel entrance.

He no longer knows whether he refused to sign the document at the time because he did not agree with its content.

Overall, the appearance of the witness in court is not very informative in my eyes. But the evidence we saw and the points raised are interesting. Some things I will remember:

  • The witness testified that the police who stood at his entrance gate had no radio contact with the emergency services on the opposite intersection. This reinforces the impression of communication chaos among the emergency services.
  • The witness states that he had had several interviews with the accused prior to being questioned by the police. He can remember seeing many people at Lopavent headquarters.
  • The witness was accompanied to his police questioning by a lawyer who got him Lopavent. He never asked for it or thought it was necessary. He was just a security guard with a total of 34 employees. He only emphasizes that he had a small company. Nevertheless, Lopavent seems to have exchanged views with this external security company afterwards.
  • The witness’s operational plans show that he had assigned ten employees to the entrance locks. According to the concept, it should have been 16. It will probably be the case that files from a third-party company have been added. The question of whether the entry controls were understaffed remains open here.

Finally, another process day comes to an end with many vague statements. At least there are documents and video recordings that, in my view, contribute a little more to the clarification. And the personal insight that a memory record can one day be very valuable.

Day 172: A lot of crowding out and an idea from the moth box

On the day of the trial, two men testified who can barely remember the day of the Love Parade disaster. We already met the first one yesterday. He was, he said, the right hand of the crowd manager . Today he answered only a few questions from the co-plaintiffs and defense lawyers.

Complete, otherwise “totally nervous at the end”

The second witness of the day led the team on July 24, 2010, who was employed at the entrance locks at the West Entrance on Karl-Lehr Strasse. Right at the start, the 52-year-old made it clear that he didn’t remember anything: “If you don’t finish with it, then you make yourself totally nervous at the end,” says the Duisburg man in a typical Ruhrpott manner. With his expressive form and the gray-blue MSV Duisburg sweatshirt, which the witness apparently considers to be the right piece of clothing for a court hearing, he spreads the charm of my hometown for me.

Processed or displaced?

One can conclude with one thing, but that does not mean that one can no longer remember anything, the judge warns the witness. But a lot of information cannot be got out of the security guard. He had blamed himself for being responsible for the catastrophe. He spent three weeks with it. But he was convinced that he and his colleagues hadn’t done anything wrong. That’s why he didn’t quit his job. Today he is on the road every weekend at a different event as a security man. You can’t let everything that happens come close to you. “Then I would drive to the Rhine Bridge and throw myself down,” he says.

Evidence and videos

The questioning of the witness continues. Documents and videos are presented to him. The deployment plans of his employees show, for example, that only ten people were planned for the entrance locks on Karl-Lehr-Straße.

The images from a surveillance camera show how the fences were opened and hundreds of people were let into the tunnel uncontrollably at a critical time. The witness cannot do anything with the video recordings. At one point, judge Mario Plein said: “Then you have probably actually found the switch to forget everything.” And ends the day with: “I have enough for today.” The questioning of the witness continues tomorrow.

From the moth box

During the break I talk to a colleague about the “Rave the Planet” initiative, which dreams of a new love parade in Berlin and wants to declare club culture a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the request “Become fundraver” money should come together to realize the project. If it goes after “Rave the Planet”, then I understand that the Love Parade should never have left beautiful Berlin and come to the shabby Ruhr area. In addition, the Love Parade was only commercialized by Rainer Schaller and not by those who sold the brand to him.

I have a clear opinion on this. Anyone who claims that they want to take to the streets for world peace has the opportunity to do so every Friday. The thing is called Fridays for Future and works climate neutral, which I would not necessarily say about the Love Parade. For these and many other reasons, the listing of which would go beyond the scope of the blog, in my opinion a new edition like “Rave the Planet” belongs where it comes from: in the moth box. Peace.

Day 171: “Everything was a little long ago, no”

What happened on the day of the Love Parade? Who did what, when, where, how said and done? Once again, a witness is summoned who can hardly or hardly remember it. He often replies: “I don’t remember”, “I can’t say anymore” or “It’s all a little long ago, no”. Nevertheless, the court succeeds in reconstructing part of the story from its earlier statements to the police and what we have heard from other witnesses.

The runner

The 36-year-old construction manager from Cologne worked alongside the crowd manager at the Loveparade . He was his personal “runner”. It was his job to walk back and forth between the two entrances to the tunnel and the container that stood at the entrance to the ramp and served as the headquarters for the crowd manager. He had checked the folders and made sure that information and instructions got where they were supposed to go.

Failed to block access

When the crowds on the ramp became too big and the crowd manager sent the radio message that both entrances had to be blocked, the witness stood at the east entrance. The local folders had also followed this instruction. Then the witness made his way back to the container.

See statements in context

But surveillance videos and other testimonies show that the instruction about the ban has not been followed. The locks were opened again and again. More and more people poured into the tunnel. This can also be clearly seen in a video of what is playing today. Another witness, who was also an employee of the security company , explained why the instruction was disregarded  on December 5, 2018 . The pressure from the street was probably too high.

The police chief of police in the tunnel also  testified that he had assumed that the entrances would remain closed. Based on this, as he testified on November 22, 2018, the plan to use police chains to clear the traffic jam on the ramp. In my opinion, today’s testimony can only be understood in the context of the other statements. Also because the 36-year-old cannot remember many things.

The container

But he still remembers that it took a long time to get back from the east entrance through the crowd to the container. A woman had collapsed in front of him, and he had brought her behind the container barrier with the help of two visitors. Then the witness briefly describes the cruel pictures we all know. The former Bundeswehr soldier tells of the injured and dead in a rather unemotional way. About being there and helping until midnight. He must have had terrible experiences, I think. Even if I was hoping for more from his statement, I can understand personally that everything was “a little long ago” for him.

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