A newly-released video is casting doubt on allegations made by a far-right German political party claiming one of its members suffered serious injuries after being attacked by three people in the northern city of Bremen.
According to a statement on the AfD Bremen Facebook page, Frank Magnitz was the target of an “assassination attempt.” AfD says Magnitz was knocked unconscious with a piece of wood when he left a New Year’s reception at a theater in the city. The party said the attackers continued to beat Magnitz on the head after he was down.
The statement credited “the courageous intervention of a builder” with saving Magnitz’s life.
“In the coming days, we will closely monitor the reactions of other parties,” the statement said, adding: “Today is a black day for democracy in Germany.”
The account included a photo of Magnitz with a bloody head injury.
But on Friday, CCTV footage released by the public prosecutor’s office seemed to dispute AfDs account of events.
Specifically, there is no sign of a wooden object nor is there footage of someone kicking Magnitz to the ground, Frank Passade, a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office, said. The two local tradesmen (builders) never witnessed the attack as AfC alleged, authorities added.
The CCTV footage was made public after a Bremen court ordered its release as part of an investigation into the incident.
Police had initially said Magnitz had been hit with an unknown object and suspected a politically motivated attack.
Joint party leader Alice Weidel as well as other local officials blamed the attack on “incitement” from the Green Party and center-left SPD. Magnitz concedes the attack might have been a mugging.
AfD won 94 seats in Germany’s parliament in the September 2017 federal elections, making them the third-largest party in the Bundestag behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union-Christian Social Union Coalition and the center-left Social Democrats.
The reported attack came just three days after an unknown substance exploded outside the AfD office in the eastern town of Doebeln, in Saxony state. Authorities were looking into the cause and possible motives.
Saxony’s deputy governor, center-left Social Democrat Martin Dulig, tweeted Friday that there is no justification for what happened, adding that “this attack helps AfD and damages democracy.” Saxony holds a state election in September.
Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.