BERLIN – German police officers suspected of right-wing extremist chat groups

Authorities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have been notified about chat groups, where police officers exchanged right-wing extremist messages. The discovery implicates 29 officers from a small town near Essen, 11 of whom actively sent out the messages. All officers have been temporarily removed from duty.

In total, German authorities are investigating at least 5 WhatsApp chat groups, one of which started in 2012, the others in 2015.

Those involved in the group reportedly exchanged racist and neo-Nazi content including pictures of refugees in gas chambers, swastikas, and Adolf Hitler.

Police squads raided 34 private homes and bureaus of colleagues across the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday (15 September), over what the state’s interior minister Herbert Reul (CDU) described as “the worst and obnoxious” content.

Reul called this the “most evil and repugnant neo-Nazi, racist and anti-refugee hate,” adding it is a “disgrace for the NRW police.”

He said he intends to appoint a minister for the state’s police force specifically to handle right-wing tendencies.

But this is not the first discovery of right-wing extremism in German police forces.

In December 2018, authorities found evidence of this in the Hessian police, predominantly in Frankfurt. Since then, 38 officers have been investigated. Last year, a different chat group of 40 former and active Munich police officers was discovered filled with anti-Semitic messages.

While many in Germany have claimed that such discoveries are ‘isolated incidents” (Einzelfälle), Reul said yesterday (16 September) that he “can no longer speak of isolated incidents.” (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)

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