Video shows German police wrestling unarmed black man in a headlock and punching him in Berlin 

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German police beat an unarmed black man, wrestled him to the ground and kicked him, a video taken Thursday in a popular central district of Berlin appears to show.

The footage, taken by video company Redfish and posted on social media, shows a group of at least ten police officers – some holding the young man down, others ushering the crowds away – at the scene near Kottbusser Tor underground station in Kreuzberg.

While the 22-year-old man, who the police say is a suspect in the theft of a bicycle, is on the ground in a headlock, an officer gut-punches him and another kicks him.

One officer takes out his gun as he patrols the area and others use riot shields to move back the bystanders. 

Berlin State Police office has opened an investigation to determine whether officers used excessive force during the confrontation, ABC reported. 

Officials also released a statement describing their version of the events in the run up to the confrontation captured on the video. 

Police said they contacted the man on Thursday following a tip that he had stolen a bicycle. 

After they approached him, they say yanked open the door of their police car and he kicked out at it, which is not shown in the video.

They did not say how the situation escalated to the point where the unarmed man was dragged down to the floor, kicked and punched in the gut. 

The current state of the man’s health is unknown. 

In the statement, which is titled ‘Three police officers injured’, the police acknowledge that the suspect was kicked by officers.

They also said several officers at the scene were injured when a crowd started throwing flower pots, bottles and rocks.

Marie von Kuck, author of a report called ‘Offenders in Uniform,’ told ABC News that German authorities pick on minorities because they are often poor, without the resources to fight back.  

‘I’m sure nothing will happen. It will work the same as it has for the last 40 years,’ she said. 

However, Burkard Dregger, the leader of the CDU-party in the German Parliament, said: ‘We must stand by our police’, Der Tagespiegel reported. 

‘The police handled it correctly. They ended an unlawful act of resistance. Those who attack the police must learn never to do it again – the state has a monoply on power.’

He also called for professional training ‘for police officers so that resistance can be stopped even faster and such situations do not escalate’.  

Public comments to the video on YouTube have been mixed. One user wrote: ‘Resisting arrest does not have a colour. Stop the race baiting. They arrested a criminal’. 

However, others point out the fact that brutal force used against an unarmed black men is disproportionate and part of a wider trend for profiling. 

Indeed, a member of the far-right, anti-immigrant party Alternative für Deutschland said that police do react more strongly when confronting some groups of people than others.

‘It is part of their daily police business,’ said Armin-Paul Hampel. ‘In general, they react more defensively when the suspect has a migrant background.’

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