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Kenyan teacher living in Germany mistaken for burglar because he is black

Philip Oprong Spenner, 42, is a Kenyan national living in Germany who was accused of being a burglar at the Am Heidberg district school where he teaches, because of the colour of his skin.

In an interview with Mopo Philip Oprong said that he had gone in to school to prepare lessons for the next day (a Monday) by making several copies so as to adhere to social-distancing rules in the school.

“Because of the Corona measures, it is not easy to keep the distances in the staff room. I had to make a lot of copies and knew that it would be difficult on Monday without being surrounded by many people and without annoying my colleagues.”

So Spenner copied the notes and brought them one floor down to the classroom of 8a to distribute the English tasks on the desks.

A 14-year-old passer-by saw him through the window in the classroom and alerted the police. She reported that “there is a black masked man in there,” a spokeswoman for the MOPO police confirmed. 

Nobody had reported to the police that a blonde colleague was also at school earlier in the day. 

Philip Oprong heard sirens of emergency but thought nothing of it as there happens to be a hospital right next to the school. He then heard steps coming his way and a man appeared holding a gun drawn to him.

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Then more uniformed men began to trail in assuming a heightened pace. He noticed they were the police.

Philip Oprong remained calm and told the police that he was a teacher and that he owns a key to the school classroom but that his identification was in his wallet in the staff-room upstairs.

“Two policemen escorted him upstairs and he heard an officer say, ‘Don’t go so fast!’ ”As if he were afraid that he might run away. 

His data was recorded in the staff room and a few phone calls later, he gets his ID back. “Before that I had to explain where I was born and how long I have been in Germany.”

Only after confirming identification was the Kenyan teacher released but he said no apology has been offered since.