This is neither the first such case, nor arguably the last. But, due to the number of people involved, this one is out of the ordinary. Twenty-nine German police officers have been laid off for disseminating far-right propaganda on WhatsApp newsgroups, North Rhine-Westphalia Minister of the Interior Herbert Reul announced on Wednesday. September 16, at a press conference in Düsseldorf.
Among the twenty-nine police officers laid off, twenty-five were stationed in Essen, in the industrial basin of the Ruhr. In front of journalists, Mr. Reul mentioned the existence of five discussion groups where 126 images liable to criminal prosecution were exchanged, including swastikas, portraits of Hitler and a photomontage showing refugees in a room. gas.
“It’s a shame for the police in North Rhine-Westphalia”, declared the Minister of the Interior of this Land in northwestern Germany, the most populous in the country. “This is a huge blow to the 50,000 or so police officers and officials in our region, who are rightly furious, sad and in shock, as I am myself.. For them, as for all citizens, we will shed light on this scandal ”, he promised.
At the same time as they revealed the layoff of these twenty-nine police officers, eleven of whom are directly prosecuted for inciting racial hatred, the authorities announced that 34 police stations and private homes were searched, mobilizing a total of more than 200 police officers.
The promise of an appointment of a “special delegate”
It was by sifting through the cell phone of one of their colleagues, suspected of having transmitted confidential information to the press, that the police discovered, at the end of August, the existence of these discussion groups. “Until then, all the information we had had come from one cell phone. Now we have more on hand ”, explained Mr. Reul, Wednesday, before adding: “It would be excessive to speak of isolated cases. But it would be just as excessive to say that the police are facing a structural problem here. “
Claiming to want to fight “Right-wing extremism (…) with the same determination as child abuse and child pornography ”, the minister promised that a “Special delegate” was to be appointed to shed light on the penetration of far-right ideas within the police of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia. “I will do everything in my power to do the necessary cleaning”, he assured.
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