SHARE
COPY LINK

POLICE

Germany opens fresh probe against police over neo-Nazi chats

German prosecutors said Wednesday they had opened a probe against 20 police officers, including elite commandos, accused of taking part in far-right online chats and swapping Nazi symbols.

Germany opens fresh probe against police over neo-Nazi chats
Archive photo of a police officer in Kassel, Hesse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Swen Pförtner

In the latest political scandal to rock Germany’s security services, the Hesse state crime office and the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said they had
carried out dawn raids at the homes and workplaces of six of the suspects.

“Seventeen of the accused are believed to have distributed content constituting incitement of racial hatred or images linked to a former National
Socialist organisation,” the authorities said in a statement on the investigation, which was launched in April.

Three officers stand accused of obstruction of justice “because they were participants of the relevant chat groups and as superiors failed to stop or sanction the communication”.

Most of the offending content was exchanged in 2016-17, with the most recent from 2019.

READ ALSO: Hesse police face claims of links with far-right scene

The accused are all male and range in age from 29 to 54. Nineteen are active police officers and one retired. Prosecutors said all had been
temporarily relieved of their duties, with one suspect formally suspended. 

The probe began with allegations against a 38-year-old officer with the SEK special deployment commando in Frankfurt who was accused of sharing illicit content including child pornography.

A search of his mobile phone uncovered some of the racist chats in question.

The case is only the latest example of alleged extremism in the ranks of the German police.

Last September, officers in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia swooped on colleagues accused of spreading what prosecutors
called “repulsive” far-right propaganda in online chatrooms.

And in July, prosecutors announced the arrest of a former police officer and his wife suspected of having sent threatening emails to politicians and other public figures across Germany.

READ ALSO: Ex-police officer and wife arrested over far-right letters in Germany

The previous month the defence minister ordered the partial dissolution of the elite KSK commando force over right-wing extremism.

READ ALSO: What is Germany doing to combat the far-right after Hanau attacks?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

READ MORE:

SHOW COMMENTS