Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) was dismayed by right-wing extremist activities in the North Rhine-Westphalian police. He still rejects a study on racist prejudice among the police. “This process with the police in North Rhine-Westphalia hurts,” said Seehofer Süddeutsche Zeitung. NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) rightly takes rigorous action. “I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of our police officers reject such machinations and unequivocally stand by our free and democratic basic order,” said the minister. The protection of the constitution will “present a report on this issue at the end of September”. The situation report on right-wing extremism in the public service was ordered months ago. It has nothing to do with the current investigation.
Five right-wing extremist chat groups were uncovered in North Rhine-Westphalia, most of which are said to include police officers from Mülheim an der Ruhr. They are said to have sent pictures of Hitler and the fictional representation of a refugee in a gas chamber. 29 officers were suspended from duty on Wednesday. Another officer came on Thursday. “I did not consider the dimension and these abominations to be possible,” said NRW Interior Minister Reul on Thursday in the state parliament. Incidents such as in Hagen, Hamm, Gelsenkirchen and the chat groups that have now been exposed made it clear: “Apparently we have not recognized everything, perhaps even underestimated the dimensions.”
Dozens of police officers are also being investigated in Hessen on suspicion of right-wing extremist agitation. In 2019, a chat group was discovered in Bavaria that allegedly shared a threat against Muslims. Suspected extremism cases by the police also came to light in Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Saxony.
“We strongly advocate intensifying research in this field,” said the SPD interior expert in the Bundestag, Lars Castellucci, of the SZ. Nobody questions an entire profession because of individual incidents. The large majority in the police are constitutional. “All the more important it is to recognize at an early stage whether there are attitude patterns and prejudices among employees of the security authorities, “says Castellucci. Intercultural competence is lacking in authorities.
So far, Seehofer has refused to commission a study on racial profiling, i.e. on prohibited police controls based only on appearance. First of all, he warned of a general suspicion against police officers. Now it is said that concentrating only on the police is not enough. In the cabinet committee against right-wing extremism and racism, migrant organizations recently called for an investigation into discrimination by police officers, as well as in the search for housing and jobs. It is conceivable that Seehofer would agree to such a more general project.