BERLIN (AP) — A German anti-government extremist was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for deliberately driving into a police officer during an attempted traffic check while intoxicated.
The verdict delivered by the Stuttgart state court comes amid persistent concern over the activities of supporters of the Reich Citizens Movement, a loose far-right grouping whose backers deny the legitimacy of the present-day German constitution and government.
The 62-year-old man, a German whose name the court didn’t give in line with local privacy rules, was convicted of attempted murder, bodily harm, resisting and attacking enforcement officers, leaving the scene of an accident without authorization and drunk driving. His driving license was withdrawn and his car confiscated. He was ordered to pay the injured police officer 30,000 euros ($32,600) in compensation.
The court said the defendant became increasingly radicalized over recent years, had described police officers as “combatants” in chat groups and letters in 2021 and asserted that he had the right to “eliminate (these) combatants without punishment.”
The incident that led to the trial came after the defendant had been drinking at a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions and a birthday party in southwestern Germany in February 2022, the court said. A police patrol tried unsuccessfully three times to stop him for speeding.
A second patrol later tried to stop the man. An officer got out of his car and ran toward the defendant’s vehicle to signal him to stop, and the defendant drove into the officer, injuring his knees. He then drove on with the officer on the hood of his car, and the officer sustained serious head injuries when he fell off, the court said.
The defendant was stopped by a further police patrol after officers had fired 25 shots at his car. The injured officer spent weeks in a hospital and is still unable to work because of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Earlier this week, German investigators carried out raids related to an alleged coup plot involving people linked to the Reich Citizens movement. A police officer was shot in the arm during one of the searches.