Dieter Gummer, a member of the left-wing Social Democratic Party, was attacked when answered his door on Monday evening in front of his home in Böhl-Iggelheim. The visitor – an unfamiliar face – hit the 67-year-old politician in the face.
Police described the perpetrator as a man of slim build, around 40 years old, with dark skin.
According to police in nearby Ludwigshafen, Gummer then fell to the ground, also hitting his head. He had to receive treatment in hospital for his injuries. The culprit fled the scene. Recent reports suggest that such attacks are becoming more common in Germany.
The reason for the attack remains unclear, as the assaillant was unknown to the Mayor. Gummer is set to retire in August, and those who disagree with his policies will be able to vote for his successor.
Police said they were “investigating in all directions”. Gummer was still in the intensive care unit in the hospital on Wednesday. It appears that he had his jaw broken.
“This is so brainless, because you can only be highly indignant, I’m horrified,” says SPD City Councilor Richard Zwick.
“Violence does not work, that is self-evident, but today it seems that there is no general consensus”, Adolf Härdle, leader of the Greens in the Hockenheim council told the local daily, the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung.
“It is about the common organisation of the place we live in. Majoritarian decisions are to be accepted in good democratic practice,” he emphasized and added that there was no room for aggression and violence. Härdle blamed the bad quality of social media for the attack.
Hockenheimring CEO Georg Seiler, who often works together with Gummer on the Hockenheimring GmbH, says: “I was called in. I was shocked and outraged at the same time – the perpetrator can only be a case for psychiatry.”
In determining the facts of the case, it is notable that the local political situation in Hockenheim had caused some resentment because of the accommodation of asylum seekers and the related search for suitable housing.
“It created a mood in which someone could feel called upon to do something,” says Zwick. “There’s a lot of hatred involved, even though I always felt that Lord Mayor Gummer was very objective and fair.”
The commission for politically motivated crime has meanwhile taken over the investigation, said police spokeswoman Sandra Giertzsch to t-online.de. “We can currently exclude no facts,” said Giertzsch.
According to police, the attacker has a “North African-Arab appearance” and he spoke German with a slight accent, wearing black pants and a red jacket. According to reports, there were more than 1 200 politically motivated crimes against public officials last year.