A special police force unit in the German city of Frankfurt is disbanded because 18 agents from the unit of right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi images would have shared in chat groups. The men have been inactive in anticipation of the investigation. This is the second time that the police force in Frankfurt has been compromised because of right-wing extremism.
There are 20 men in total, between the ages of 28 and 54, who shared discriminatory texts and Nazi symbols in chat groups via Whatsapp and Telegram. The chat groups examined were mainly active in 2016 and 2017, the latest reports are from 2019. According to the Minister of Interior of the Land of Hesse, the talks show a “blunted, discriminatory attitude and in some cases also a right-wing extremist conviction”.
Yesterday, the houses and workplaces of the agents of the Spezialeinsatzkommando SEK were searched. Seventeen out of 20 agents are suspected of sedition and use of prohibited symbols from anti-democratic organisations. The other three, including a supervisor, were not active in the chat group, but mostly watched along. They are accused of having not intervened and thereby thwarted the prosecution of criminal conduct.
Frankfurt Police Chief Gerhard Bereswill has sent a letter to all officers stating that all officers are expected to “defend the democratic state system at any time in accordance with their own convictions” and that they immediately punish the conduct of colleagues have to report.
At the end of 2018, agents were already fired because they shared Hitler photos and photoshopped images of refugees in concentration camps in chat groups. Four of the men are currently being prosecuted.
Bereswill stresses that most of its corps deliver “committed and good work”. These studies focus on ‘some who think they should not follow the rules’.
Nevertheless, the debate on right-wing extremism continues to come back in the police and the military. Recently, the trial against Franco A., a military man suspected of attempting to commit a terrorist attack and taking out left-wing politicians. A special unit of the army has been temporarily disbanded, because at a party they gave the Hitler salute and listened to extreme right music. They would also be shutting out ammunition from the military base.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, a group of at least 30 agents was fired last year, also because they had set up chat groups in which they let their xenophobia run wild.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, between 2017 and 2020, 380 agents or employees of security services were suspected of right-wing extremist thought.