A Jewish Johns Hopkins University professor said that German police brutally beat him after mistaking him for an anti-Semitic attacker.
In a Facebook post, Yitzhak Melamed said he was “deeply troubled” by police accounts of the incident, which took place last week in Bonn, Germany.
Melamed was visiting Bonn University Wednesday to give a lecture on German philosophy, he wrote in the post. Beforehand, he was approached by a Palestinian man who shouted anti-Jewish threats at him and grabbed his yarmulke.
A colleague asked people nearby to call the police, and the assailant soon ran, Melamed said. Melamed then ran after his attacker in order to identify him to police. But officers confused Melamed for the man who attacked him and punched him repeatedly while handcuffing him, breaking his glasses and watch, he said.
Melamed, whose grandparents, aunt and uncle were killed by German police in 1942, called the attack by police “nothing short of pure brutality.”
Melamed did not respond to a request for comment.
The police later realized their mistake and visited Melamed in person to apologize, he wrote in the Facebook post. The head of Bonn police, Ursula Brohl-Sowa, called the situation a “horrible and regrettable misunderstanding,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
But Melamed said police later claimed he had resisted arrest — a charge he categorically denies.
He added: “Police brutality is one of the sickest aspects of current American society. It is racist and it is vile. You may think things are different in Germany. I very much doubt it.”