Why did Ousman Sey die?

Dortmunder Antifa Bündnis

Dortmund antifascist alliance criticises public authorities regarding the death of Ousman Sey

In the morning of the 7th July 2012 Ousman Sey, a 45 years old of Gambian origin, died in police custody in Dortmund. The Dortmund Antifascist Alliance (Dortmunder Antifa Bündnis) criticizes the way, this case is treated by local police authorities. Before being taken into police custody, Sey called an ambulance twice, because he was not feeling good. After approaching at his flat for the first time, the paramedics diagnosed palpitations but expressed that there was no need for him to be taken to a hospital. When calling an ambulance for the second time half an hour later, according to his brother, he was suffering from convulsions. At the same time it is said, that he started vandalizing his own flat. Therefore police forces arrived at Ousman Seys flat simultaneously with the paramedics. They attested for the second time, that there was no need for Sey to be taken to a hospital and an examination by the police physician in custody would be enough.

After arriving in police custody, Ousman Sey collapsed and died of breathing arrest. Relatives and friends of Sey uttered the suspicion in a local newspaper that the police and the paramedics did not render assistance due to racist motives.


As expected, the heads of Dortmund police department and the ambulance an fire departmend, Norbert Wesseler and Dirk Aschenbrenner strongly repudiated those allegations. Racism would neither have a place in an ambulance of the fire department nor in the police and racism by no means would have any influence on the action of paramedics and police forces.


„If the non-assistance happened due to incompetence or racist motives – the reactions were entirely wrong“, said Hannah Piehl, spokesperson of Dortmund Antifascist Alliance (Dortmunder Antifa Bündnis). „It has to be clarified, what made police and paramedics do, which cost a man’s life.“


„The statement, “there would be no racism in the police an ambulance and fire department”, can only be seen as protective statement“, Hannah Piehl declared. „German police officers act racist on a daily basis. The practice of so called „racial profiling“ puts black people in the focus of police controls every day. This way black people in Germany experience a recurring institutional discrimination. That is not just „inconvenient“ for the victims of those controls but also falsifies the statistics of criminality to the disadvantage of the more often controlled group of black people. Furthermore the case of Oury Jalloh who died in police custody in Dessau in 2005 is a well known example for the deadly racism of German police authorities.“


Regarding the paramedic and fire department, Hannah Piehl said: „It seems questionable to us, how chief of fire department Aschenbrenner gets the idea there would be no racism under his authority. Not just that his predecessor lost his job as chief of the local „Institue for Firefighter- and Rescue-Technology“ for the discovery of his good contacts to a local neonazi group calling themselves „Autonomous Nationalists“. Racism is found in all corners of society. It does not only exist in the far right or amongst „uneducated“ people. Who denies that racism exists in „the middle of society“, closes their eyes to all empirical data concerning this topic.“


The Dortmund Antifascist Alliance (Dortmunder Antifa Bündnis) associates itself with the suspicion expressed by the relatives and friends of Ousman Sey. We demand the total clarification of the circumstances of the death of Sey, knowing that the official explanation is unlikely due to the institutional racism of the authorities.


We ask:

- How can a man, obviously needing medical aid, be taken into police custody in hand-coughs?
- Why did the paramedics not take Ousman Sey to a hospital, despite the obvious signs of a probable cardiac infarction?
- How can police and local press pathologize Ousman Sey as a „vandal“ and offender?
- Would chief of police Norbert Wesseler also be taken into police custody when he had contacted an ambulance for the second time because of having palpitations? Would he calmly remain seated if he were in fear of death and denied medical aid?


In addition we want to advert to a manifestation for Ousman Sey, organized by „Initiative Christy Schwundeck“, that will take place in Frankfurt am Main on Tuesday 17th July.

Our solidarity is dedicated to the friends and relatives of Ousman Sey and everyone who has experienced racism!