A right-wing extremist network has been rolled up in the police force in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. At least 29 police officers are said to have exchanged neo-Nazi, racist photos and texts in various WhatsApp groups. “A disgrace for the police in North Rhine-Westphalia, states minister Herbert Reul calls it.
According to Minister Reul, there are more than a hundred pictures in five WhatsApp groups. “We are talking about the nastiest, most disgusting, neo-Nazi, racist stuff, full of xenophobia
The groups shared photos of Hitler and swastikas, but also photoshopped images of a refugee in a gas chamber and executions of black people. Reul: “Im speechless and it wont let go of me. I didnt want to believe it at first”
Handing in service weapon
The agents concerned have been suspended immediately. They had to surrender their uniforms and service weapons and are no longer allowed to enter the police station. Fourteen of them have been dismissed.
In the case of eleven officers, the suspicion is already concrete. They are the ones who distributed the pictures. They are suspected of sedition and the spreading of right-wing extremist propaganda. Eighteen agents are still being investigated as to their exact role.
Right-wing extremist networks have long been suspected in the police and the army. Numerous incidents have come to light in recent years, such as parties of an elite army unit giving the Hitler salute. Or police officers looking up the addresses of well-known Germans helping refugees, who are threatened by right-wing extremists.
Military and police officers were also part of so-called prepper groups preparing for a DagX, in which political enemies are dealt with.
Reul: “I know that the vast majority of the officers are very decent people and democrats. I have long thought and hoped that they were incidents, but that is no longer possible
Earlier we did this report on right-wing extremism in the police force, including a Berlin cabaret artist who received death threats after her private data was retrieved from a police computer
The WhatsApp groups came to light after a tip-off from another policeman. That is what Reul calls the only bright spot in this case. “We can no longer keep our hands above each others heads, says the Minister.
Reul: “With right-wing extremists, pity or a misplaced sense of comradeship is out of place. These people do not deserve to wear a uniform”