18 police officers in Saxony-Anhalt fired after chat messages

18 police officers in Saxony-Anhalt fired after chat messages

IIn Saxony-Anhalt, 18 police officers are to be fired because, as police students, they are said to have been involved in a class chat with National Socialist, anti-Semitic, racist and violent content. “According to the current state of knowledge, eleven of the 18 employees have actively posted messages, videos and pictures with corresponding content in the chat group,” said Interior Minister Tamara Zieschang (CDU) on Wednesday in Magdeburg.

The chat lasted from September 2017 to December 2021. At least 50 of over 5,000 individual messages were anti-Semitic, racist or glorified violence.

“The content of this class chat has not only shocked me,” said Zieschang. “This class chat is a disgrace to the state police.” The case is unique in the history of the state police. In the course of investigations by the Halle Police Inspectorate against a former candidate for the 2017 training year at the University of Applied Sciences in another matter, the chat became known, said the minister.

Criminal investigations into four suspects

Criminal investigations were initiated against four of the 18 police officers for using license plates of unconstitutional organizations, hate speech and distribution of violent and animal pornography. Those involved were born between 1984 and 2001, said Zieschang. Pornographic content was posted when some were still minors. Some of those involved had very good degrees. A very quick explanation would not do justice to the dimension, said the interior minister.

She gave two examples from the class chat: In October 2017, for example, a picture of Adolf Hitler was posted with an anti-Jewish inscription. In February 2020, a photo was published showing an apparently dismembered woman’s corpse. It is unclear to what extent there was resistance to such posts. According to Zieschang, this could also have taken place outside of the group. In the meantime, three people had left the chat and were later resumed.

Zieschang emphasized: “This behavior and in particular the content of the chat, which is not compatible with the obligation to comply with the constitution, will not be tolerated by me, by the entire state police. They contradict our professional ethics and our mission statement.”

“We are at the beginning of the process,” emphasized Zieschang. The police rabbi should be involved, as well as the contact person for Jewish life in Saxony-Anhalt and experts for intercultural competence. In 2018, the university made headlines with drug allegations against police candidates. Several prospective police officers were fired at the time. It was about the suspicion of drug possession and trafficking.

The events that have become known are bottomless and disturbing from the point of view of the domestic spokesman for the Greens in the state parliament, Sebastian Striegel. The domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Rüdiger Erben, emphasized: “From the first day of training in the police force, you have to work intensively with the young people. It’s not just about imparting specialist knowledge, but also values.”

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