Black Germans Called Out The System After Police Killed This Mother

two police officers standing next to each other
Zain Murdock
April 17, 2024

N’deye Mareame Sarr only wanted to get her two-year-old child. Her racist mother-in-law wasn’t to be trusted with him. Her ex-husband applied for sole custody. His whiteness, compared to her status as an immigrant Senegalese German woman, protected him. 

So when the German police arrived as the couple argued on July 14, 2001, she was the one who was shot dead.

Even the bullet that killed her reflected the anti-Blackness inherent to policing across the world. She was one of the first victims of a PEP, or Polizei-Einsatz-Patrone bullet, designed to stop “very violent attackers” in their tracks. These mushroom bullets expand upon impact, causing even more damage to their victims.

German officials portrayed Sarr as a “strongly built” 26-year-old African woman, a clear threat to police who killed her in self-defense. 

However, Black German organizations, consisting largely of students, refugees, and other immigrants, stood in solidarity against that narrative.

They blamed not just the police but the dominant German media, which criminalized African “foreigners,” championing the incarceration and deportation of immigrants.

N’deye Mareame Sarr’s life is not the only one that has been taken. She is one of countless Black women whose lives have been stolen by police on every continent in the world. 

But, as written by those organizations who advocated for her humanity even after death: “The fight goes on. Come what may, we will win.”