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German Police Exchanged Nazi Content In Chat Group

Frankfurt Police HQ (by Magadan via Wikimedia Commons)

Policemen in the German city of Frankfurt have been accused of threatening a lawyer and exchanging far-right and Nazi content in a chat group. 

On 2 August 2018 lawyer Seda Başay-Yildiz received an anonymous fax signed by "NSU 2.0." The message described her as a "lousy Turkish pig" (miese Türkensau) and threatened to "slaughter" (schlachten) her two-year-old daughter. The authors of the fax knew not only her private address but also  her daughter's name. She reported the incident to the police. 

Başay-Yildiz was representing a victim of the NSU - National Socialist Underground - a far-right terrorist group responsible for 10 murders and various terror attacks. The trial of NSU members lasted from May 2013 to July 2018 and resulted in 5 convictions. 

According to the Tagesspiegel, in October investigators searched the 1. police department in Frankfurt and found out that a policewoman had requested on a computer the address of Basay-Yildiz although she was not in charge of the case. 

Investigators further discovered that the policewoman had interacted with four colleagues in a WhatsApp group where they had made xenophobic comments and exchanged Nazi images, including a picture of Adolf Hitler

Six police officers have been suspended and are now investigated for hate speech and the use of unconstitutional images. Section 86a of the German Criminal Code criminalizes the public dissemination of symbols of unconstitutional organizations, such as the National Socialist Party. 

In recent years the German police has been accused of being sympathetic to the far-right.  

According to Jan Schedler, professor of social sciences at the Ruhr-University Bochum, since 2008 there have been almost 200 cases of ties between members of the German police or armed forces and far-right groups

Stedler told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the police and the military are susceptible to far-right theories due to their emphasis on authority and order. Moreover, police officers' negative experiences and frustration in dealing with criminals may contribute to reinforcing anti-immigrant sentiment. Stedler added that the radicalization of the immigration discourse may have led to the growing popularity of far-right thought among law-enforcement agencies. 

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