Brawl with soldiers in Amberg sends three Germans to hospital
November 16, 2006
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Retractable clubs and other weapons have been confiscated from 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldiers after a brawl in Amberg that sent three Germans to the hospital, according to soldiers in the unit.
Hans Peter Klinger, of the Amberg police, said retractable clubs were used by some among a group of 10 American soldiers during a brawl with eight Germans in downtown Amberg on Oct. 29. He said there were also four women in the American group and all were also believed to be soldiers.
“There was not any cause [for the brawl]. It was an unprovoked attack by the Americans. The soldiers had sticks. They beat [the Germans] up with their sticks and three German men, aged 17, 19 and 21 years old were hurt and had to go to hospital,” Klinger said.
However, other German police officials said they had interviewed some of the American suspects, and said that at least one reported having been attacked first.
The injured were treated and released from the hospital the same night, Klinger said.
Maj. Robert Ray, the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr provost marshal, said in an e-mail that the Vilseck military police station is conducting a joint investigation with the Amberg Police Inspectorate.
“We are conducting joint interviews of numerous potential subjects and witnesses,” Ray said. “The Amberg Police Inspectorate retains the lead on this investigation, and any further inquiries should be referred to their office. The safety and welfare of our soldiers, families, civilians and host nation neighbors remains our top priority.”
The clubs used by the soldiers are known as “telescope sticks” in Germany, Klinger said.
“You can put the sticks up and down like an antenna and conceal them in your clothes,” he said.
The brawl happened near a theater in Schrannenplatz, close to the central pedestrian area in Amberg, he said.
Assault with a weapon carries a penalty of up to three years in jail and a fine based on the offender’s income, he said. However, it will be up to the German prosecutor to decide if the case is prosecuted in a German court or left to U.S. military justice, he said.
Several 2nd Cav soldiers said the Army responded to the attack by searching barracks for drugs and confiscating the retractable clubs. They said other weapons, such as spears and brass knuckles, were also confiscated, although there was no word that these also were involved in the fight.
Maj. Wayne Marotto, 1st Armored Division public affairs officer who is handling 2nd Cav’s media responses, did not directly address questions about the weapons seizures or the Army’s policy on such weapons.
“Subordinate commanders are responsible for the discipline of their units and do have authority to take certain corrective measures. Any speculation at this point without having the investigation complete is not only unfair to the individuals involved, but could affect the outcome of the investigation,” he said.
The incident in Amberg involved members of 2nd Cav’s 3rd Squadron. It will be investigated by 1st AD, as well as the German and U.S. police, he said.
“This incident is an aberration, and is not indicative of the conduct of the 2nd SCR (2nd Cav). The 1st AD is committed to being a good neighbor in Germany. Positive community relations are vital between the 2nd SCR and the German locals because our families live and work in the community,” Marotto said.