Right-wing extremists at security authorities: 350 suspected cases

Hundreds of employees of security authorities are said to be right-wing extremists. This emerges from a confidential paper from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The police in Hesse are particularly suspicious: the police headquarters in Frankfurt am Main Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

BERLIN afp | According to a report, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) counts more than 350 suspected right-wing extremism cases in the German security authorities. This is evident from the management report on the topic, which was first prepared, reported the World on Sunday. The document classified as confidential therefore illuminates the period from the beginning of January 2017 to the end of March 2020.

According to the report, the BfV asked the Federal Intelligence Service, the Military Counter-Intelligence Service, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Police, the 16 state police and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which together have around 300,000 employees. The authorities therefore had to fill out a questionnaire on right-wing extremist cases in their homes, which the BfV then evaluated centrally.

Most right-wing extremist suspected cases among the federal states reported according to the World on Sunday Hesse. The interior ministry there explains this by stating that internal investigations have been carried out particularly intensively in this area for two years.

In the state, 59 measures under service and labor law have been carried out in the past three years. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated in 50 of them and 29 were suspended, the newspaper wrote. In eleven cases there were dismissals or non-appointment as civil servants.

In the past few months, right-wing extremist incidents in security authorities had repeatedly caused a stir. Most recently, a right-wing extremist chat group within the police was uncovered in North Rhine-Westphalia. In Leipzig, a police officer is suspected of having “made right-wing extremist and racist remarks” as a participant in a chat, as the Leipzig police department announced on Friday.

The eagerly awaited situation report of the protection of the constitution should be loud World on Sunday to be presented in October. Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) had rejected a study on racism in the police that had been requested by many parties on the grounds that the situation report was currently being prepared.


40 years of the Munich Oktoberfest attack: the first right-wing lone perpetrator

September 26th marks the anniversary of the crime. The worst terrorist attack in the history of the republic remains unsolved.

The mug shot of the Bavarian LKA from 1980 shows a photomontage by the 21-year-old student Gundolf Köhler Photo: Handout Polizei / dpa / picture alliance

As early as 1982, when Attorney General Rebmann stopped the investigation for the first time and presented Gundolf Köhler as a frustrated, lovesickly afflicted individual without political motives, a number of disagreements put this decision into question.

As if preprogrammed, the investigations at the time resulted in the thesis of the apolitical individual perpetrator. This is also made clear by the interrogations of Köhler’s friends. The investigators asked extensively about sexual preferences and romantic relationships. Questions about political background or contacts with right-wing groups, on the other hand, were asked rather sporadically and hardly followed up in detail.

Despite these tendentious investigations, it was completely obvious that Gundolf Köhler adhered to anti-Semitic, National Socialist and racist ideas and did not hold back with them. In the interviews there was repeated mention of a picture of Hitler over the bed or of statements against Jews.

Over the years, thanks in particular to victim lawyer Werner Dietrich and journalist Ulrich Chaussy, more and more contradictions came to light, of which the missing hand is probably the most prominent. Said hand was found at the crime scene after the explosion. Then as now, the investigators attributed it to Gundolf Köhler.

Internal betrayal

But that cannot be: Serologically it could not be assigned to the assassin and, in contrast to the rest of Koehler’s body, no traces of the bomb component nitrocellulose were found on the hand. Finally, a former BKA explosives expert came to the conclusion that the hand, which was barely damaged by burn marks, could not have come from Koehler because his hands and forearms were probably torn into tiny pieces by the force of the explosion.

Today, a DNA examination of the hand could determine whether it came from Koehler – but both the hand and the forensic medical report were made to disappear in the course of the investigation.

In 2014, the Federal Prosecutor finally gave in to the pressure and resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack. However, the results with which she announced the hiring five years later are thin. It is true that the strategically communicated figures of the many surveys conducted and did not check traces of their target and were found in almost every press article. But the amount of individual investigative measures cannot outweigh what the investigations as a whole failed to do.

So the question arises why the Federal Prosecutor’s Office entrusted the Bavarian LKA with the investigation instead of the Federal Criminal Police Office, and thus precisely the institution that had carried out the original investigation without success. Bearing in mind the obvious assumption that these investigations were severely disrupted and influenced, for example, by the theft of evidence or the betrayal of internal investigations, this decision seems simply wrong.

Linked to this is a second omission: the resumed investigations did not deal with the errors of the first special commission as an independent investigation objective. However, this omission is incomprehensible in view of such fundamental errors as the disappearance of the hand. For what motives, with what effects, to what extent and with whose participation the investigations were sabotaged in the 1980s, was never the subject of the resumed proceedings – another knowingly missed chance to clear up the background to the attack.

Destroyed traces

The investigators were also unable to identify possible accomplices and associates of Köhler. The men in the green parkas, who were observed by various witnesses talking to Koehler immediately before the explosion and shortly afterwards on the run from the crime scene, remain unknown, as is the young woman with whom other witnesses saw Koehler at the scene. The traces from Köhler’s car are also puzzling: Who owned the green parka that was found in the car, to whom did the 48 cigarette butts of different brands and with different saliva accumulations belong? A DNA comparison is also ruled out here; the traces were destroyed.

The press release closes with the succinct statement “that questions remained open and that individual issues could not be fully ascertained or assessed”. These open questions and the failure of the highest investigative authority, which is badly concealed in this sentence, should form the core of the assessment, because the open questions touch the core of the subject. Who were the men Koehler was seen with just before the explosion? How was the bomb detonated, how did Koehler get the explosives, where and by whom was the bomb built? Who did the hand found at the crime scene belong to and who made it disappear?

A look at Italy shows that it is not a law of nature that investigations must remain inconclusive after 40 years. Later that year, the right-wing terrorist Gilberto Cavallini was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to the attackers in the 1980 attack on Bologna train station.

It borders on insolence that 40 years after the bloody attack in Munich, on the one hand, not having contributed anything to the investigation and at the same time proclaiming the banality that the act was politically motivated.

The lone perpetrator

The termination of the investigation is a scandal. It reveals the entitlement of the bereaved, the injured and the dead to the investigation of the crime and the determination of the guilty. This claim remains unpaid. The attitude is also momentous in that it is historiography and thus works equally in the past and present. She contributes to the construction of a historical figure that never existed and that still causes damage today: the right-wing lone perpetrator.

The decision is doing the historical subject an injustice, because weighty circumstances indicate that Köhler did not act alone. It also contributes to the fact that present and future right-wing terrorism is not understood as the work of networks. Victims remain unpunished and perpetrators unknown.

The attack on the Munich Oktoberfest on September 26, 1980 remains unsolved and challenges us. Bertolt Brecht’s sentence applies: “Only as much truth prevails as we enforce.”


Right-wing extremism: NRW police clean up – politics

Comment from

Jana Stegemann

The 56,000 employees of the North Rhine-Westphalian police received an email from their boss this week. In it, Herbert Reul (CDU) called for criminally relevant incidents to be reported from colleagues. After the revelation of right-wing WhatsApp chats with the Essen police last week, the interior minister wants to clear up and clear up his authority. Just a few days later it can be said that he got off to a good start.

Because within a short time, the North Rhine-Westphalian police received evidence of 16 further suspected cases from their own ranks. Who gave these clues? Above all the police officers themselves. This shows that the self-healing powers of the state police will work in 2020.

This gives hope that the authority of the most populous federal state will succeed in uncovering and smashing right-wing extremist networks within its own ranks. Because everything is at stake for the police after the Mülheim scandal and the more than a hundred suspected cases. Reul knows that, but the police officers who had the courage to report their colleagues also apparently know that. This is the only way for the police to regain the trust of the population.

© SZ vom 25.09.2020


Rights in the NRW police: 100 officials under suspicion – politics

The right-wing extremism problem in the North Rhine-Westphalian police is apparently much larger than previously known: between January 2017 and September 2020, 100 employees of the state authority were suspected of right-wing extremism or racism. There are also four suspected cases in the Ministry of the Interior. The North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) said on Thursday in the interior committee of the state parliament.

Investigations had been initiated against eight police officers because of possible proximity to the Reich’s citizen ideology; in addition, there are or have been 84 disciplinary proceedings against civil servants for indications of right-wing extremist sentiments. Of the 100 suspected cases, 71 have not yet been concluded. Eight disciplinary and labor law measures were imposed in the 29 proceedings that were ended. In the remaining 21 cases, the allegations were either not confirmed or they were time-barred. The Mülheim case is included in the figures.

“I can only present a snapshot,” said Reul, “we have not reached the end of the flagpole for a long time.” His authority received more and more information – most of them from the police themselves. Which is why Reul praised the authority’s “self-cleaning powers”. “The majority of police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia are on the right side,” said Reul, who also did not want to speak of a “structural problem” in his authority. Nonetheless, the minister appointed a special representative who should quickly create a picture of right-wing extremist tendencies in the NRW police. According to Reul, his most pressing question is: “Why are these attitudes developing among the police?”

Last Wednesday, Reul sent an email to all 56,000 employees of the NRW police – and called on them to report criminally relevant content from their colleagues. Since then, 16 additional suspected cases have been reported to the NRW police within less than a day. An employee of the Cologne police pointed out a closed forum called “net4cops”, in which 770 employees of security authorities were members nationwide. Nine participants were noticed with right-wing extremist statements; five of them come from the NRW police. The forum has now been closed.

31 police officers were temporarily suspended last week

A few hours before Reul spoke in the state parliament, another officer from the Essen police headquarters was also suspended from duty. His case had nothing to do with the right-wing extremist content in the five chat groups, for which 31 police officers were temporarily suspended from duty last week. Most of those involved had worked at least temporarily in the same service group in Mülheim an der Ruhr that belongs to the Essen Police Headquarters.

Reul affirmed on Thursday: “Anyone who does not believe in our constitution has no place in the North Rhine-Westphalian police.”


Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency: The silent authority

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has been working without management for years – barely noticeable and yet at the limit.

Fighting Discrimination on the Street: Demonstration Against Racism in Memory of George Floyd Photo: Sebastian Wells / Ostkreuz

BERLIN taz | When Bernhard Franke appeared in front of the press in early June, the big Black Lives Matter protests in many German cities were just three days ago. For a short time there is a broad debate on racism in Germany. Franke’s authority, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS), is the supreme advisory body for those affected by racism and discrimination. He presents the annual report for 2019. “Germany has an ongoing problem with racist discrimination and does not support those affected consistently enough,” summarizes Franke. One thing is certain: more and more people turn to the anti-discrimination agency every year.

Even so, it is arguably only a small fraction of the actual amount of people who experience discrimination on a daily basis. The ADS received around 4,250 inquiries last year – almost 16 a day. The anti-discrimination agency has problems getting noticed by the population.

One reason: The management of the position has been vacant since 2018. Franke is only acting head. This is largely due to mistakes made by the SPD and the Federal Family Ministry to which the office is affiliated. Although the ADS is technically independent, the selection of its management is the responsibility of Franziska Giffey, the social democratic Federal Minister for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

In April 2018, she proposed her party colleague Nancy Böhning to the cabinet for the office. Böhning had previously been deposed as managing director of the party. Your planned move to the top of the anti-discrimination agency gives the impression of internal party compensation.

A “poor certificate”

Shortly after the selection became known, two female competitors complained. The Berlin Administrative Court thereupon prohibited Böhning’s appointment in the first instance in February 2019. In its reasoning, the court clearly criticizes the appointment procedure. It is not compatible with the “principle of the best selection” laid down in the Basic Law. The selection was also not “open-ended”. A month later the Higher Regional Court in Münster made the same decision.

The Ministry of Family Affairs then took more than a year until it announced in June 2020 that it would no longer hold on to Böhning. Meanwhile, she has long been working as a consultant at IG Metall. A spokeswoman explains that there is currently no “legal certainty” for a new selection. The ministry is facing two different court decisions. That is why they now want to develop a new appointment procedure. To this end, an “internal government exchange” was initiated. It is unclear whether a leadership will be found in this legislative period.

There is a lack of understanding among the opposition: “The ADS is deprived of the opportunity to raise its voice,” says Ulle Schauws, queer and women’s political spokeswoman for the green parliamentary group. Schauws is convinced that the decision to no longer hold on to Böhning could have been made much earlier by the ministry. The responsible left-wing MP Gökay Akbulut sees it in a similar way: It is an “indictment of poverty” that the top position is still vacant.

Franke himself describes the situation less dramatically: “The fact that I am only acting head does not limit the content of the job,” he says. However, he is not publicly known as a person and is therefore “less effective”.

Toothless legal basis

This is exactly where his predecessor sees the problem. Christine Lüders headed the ADS from 2010 to 2018 and managed to get the authority into the headlines time and again with suggestions. Franke and his employees do an excellent job, according to Lüders. But someone is missing who is fighting with a strong mandate. “By keeping this position open, the anti-discrimination agency is one lame duck become ”, she says.

But the authority is not only paralyzed by the lack of management. Their legal basis, the German anti-discrimination law, is also comparatively weak. In 2006 the position was introduced as part of the General Equal Treatment Act – as an advisory service for those affected and to coordinate public relations and research. That only happened at the urging of the EU to implement a corresponding directive in Germany. CDU and FDP fought vehemently for a long time.

In a European comparison, German law is still toothless, the anti-discrimination authority is small and has few powers. So even if those affected know about ADD and turn to them, the authorities cannot help them in many cases.

“We were very late and we are pretty weak when it comes to this law.” This is how the journalist Ferda Ataman, who herself worked for two years as head of unit in the anti-discrimination agency and is now on the agency’s advisory board, sums it up. Your biggest point of criticism: a lack of representative action.

The most visible problem remains the lack of equipment in the authority

In this way, the ADS could legally represent those affected collectively in an accumulation of similar incidents. The authority itself has been publicly calling for this option for over four years. However, there is no majority for this in the Bundestag. Union and FDP reject the proposal.

The most visible problem remains the lack of equipment in the authority. The ADS currently has 27 posts. These officers are responsible for research, advice and campaigns on five different forms of discrimination – and that for the whole of Germany. The British equivalent, for example, has over 201 employees.

The number of requests for advice to the ADS is also low. But it is increasing steadily – during the corona pandemic again significantly faster: “We had more advice requests this year in mid-August than in the entire previous year,” reports Franke. Without more resources and bodies, the small authority will soon no longer be able to do this. “We are at the limit,” says Franke.

More money and staff – all democratic parties in the Bundestag support this on request. Little has happened so far. “Actually, the thing that annoys me the most is that it upsets so few people,” says the Green Show, which has long been dealing with the ADS in parliament. “If the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Sexual Abuse were not occupied, what do you think would be going on?” She asks.

The anti-discrimination agency is in a difficult position. For example, Ferda Ataman reports that even other federal authorities often ignore or forget about ADS. Franke puts it a little more gallantly: “We have experience in repeatedly calling ourselves to mind and having to demand participation.”

Last hope: independence

Some see a solution in making the ADS an independent authority. According to information from the taz, a corresponding application was discussed at the last meeting of the advisory board at the end of August. In the internal paper it is proposed to raise the ADS to the highest federal authority – on the same level as the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection.

The anti-discrimination agency could then make its own personnel decisions and would be independent of the family ministry. In addition, the leadership would be directly elected by the Bundestag. It is said that the proposal met with great approval in the advisory board.

By the end of October, the federal government also wants to adopt comprehensive measures to combat right-wing extremism and racism. After the right-wing terrorist attack in Hanau, the government set up a cabinet committee for this purpose. The committee would underline the “considerable political importance” attached to the fight against racism and right-wing extremism, the government stressed in a press release.

The anti-discrimination agency, the most important state source of knowledge on the subject of racism, is nevertheless not a permanent guest on the committee – unlike, for example, the Federal Government Commissioner for the new federal states.

But even though the ADS is not permanently at the table: It is not unlikely that it will play an important role in the plans. In any case, the authority hopes that the federal government will use the opportunity to comprehensively reform the General Equal Treatment Act and the Anti-Discrimination Agency at the same time.


Oktoberfest attack: 1.2 million euros for the victims – Munich

When you ask Renate Martinez these days whether someone has already contacted her about compensation from the state, she sighs audibly and a little bitterly. “Hopefully I’ll see it again,” she says with a touch of gallows humor.

As a young woman, Renate Martinez was seriously injured in the legs in the Oktoberfest attack on September 26, 1980 by the bomb of the right-wing extremist assassin Gundolf Köhler. Today she can only walk with difficulty on the rollator. Until recently, she did not really believe that after 40 years the state would still pull itself together to help the injured and victims of the Oktoberfest attack financially. Nice words, she said, nothing else.

Renate Martinez was wrong. She will receive a letter from Mayor Dieter Reiter in the next few weeks, announcing that the federal government, the state and the city now want to help her and the other more than 200 people injured in the attack. After months of negotiations, the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich have agreed to set up a fund of 1.2 million euros from which the victims of the attack will receive unbureaucratic help. The federal government is paying € 500,000, Bavaria € 500,000, and the city of Munich € 200,000. A full four decades after the fact.

It should be noted in the words of Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, the Bavarian Social Minister Carolina Trautner and OB Reiter how urgently they consider this help to be – and how little they can understand that it took so long for this help to reach the victims . “A late, but nevertheless important sign of solidarity with those affected by this devastating attack,” said Justice Minister Lambrecht. And Reiter says: “Even if we cannot undo the suffering and painful memories of the survivors, this joint fund of the federal government, the Free State and the city shows – albeit much too late – that all political levels are willing to give the people this To give incredibly cruel right-wing terrorist attacks the attention and financial support they have long deserved. ” Long earned, much too late – these are characteristic words that suggest how much the state is behind in recognizing the victims.

Investigations were restarted – and only concluded in the summer

The city of Munich has given 100,000 euros in recent years. But the federal and state governments have been waiting for the assessment of the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe. The had resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack in December 2014 and only now, in summer 2020, completed. Although it did not find anyone behind the attack, it turned the assessment of the act 180 degrees. Up until now, the assassination was considered an act of a lovesick young man, but not a right-wing terror. The fact that Gundolf Köhler trained with the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann and had a picture of Hitler hanging over the bed was not taken by the investigators in 1980 as evidence of a political motive. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office sees it differently today: For them, the attack is clearly right-wing terror. Köhler wanted to influence the federal election ten days later, in which Franz Josef Strauss (CSU) ran against Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD).

This new assessment is important for the victims. Because only it allows the authorities to fall back on the victim fund for victims of terrorism. It was only she who made the agreement between the federal government, the Free State and the city possible. The city of Munich will now organize the distribution of the money. And the mayor expressly wants it to be unbureaucratic. Nobody should have to beg for their money. So no more lengthy reports on the physical damage and its long-term consequences – because they are obvious after 40 years. No delay in paying out, because many of those affected are now of retirement age, their complaints are not getting any easier and they are not getting younger. Not all of the 211 people who survived the attack were injured are already living. The city of Munich still knows around 170 survivors. And they are now being written to.

In addition, there should be fixed contact persons for the victims so that they are not passed on from office to office. And the severity of the injuries should also play a role in the payment. There will be a phased procedure for this. Victim attorney Werner Dietrich had asked for something similar, but on a different financial scale.

The fund still has to go through the vote in the Bundestag, but, it is said in Berlin, one cannot imagine anyone voting against it. The city council in Munich still has to agree. But there shouldn’t be any resistance either. The money could be paid out from early 2021.

In a joint declaration on Wednesday, the federal government, the state and the city made it clear how important it is to them not to leave the victims alone. “We want to support the people who are still suffering from the consequences of the attack today. The state must be more there for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and human hatred,” said Federal Justice Minister Lambrecht (SPD). Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs Trautner (CSU) said: “The Free State is taking a stand against right-wing extremism and is on the side of those affected, to whom our solidarity and our sympathy go.”


Racism in the police: Seehofer continues to reject the study

After the right-wing extremism scandal with the police in North Rhine-Westphalia, Horst Seehofer rejects a study on racist prejudice. The SPD criticizes that.

Doesn’t think a study on racist prejudice in the police is necessary: ​​Horst Seehofer Photo: dpa

BERLIN afp / epd | Despite the right-wing extremism scandal among the police in North Rhine-Westphalia, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) rejects, according to a report by Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday a study on racist prejudice among the police continued.

“This process at the police in North Rhine-Westphalia hurts,” said Seehofer SZ. But he is convinced “that the overwhelming majority of our police officers reject such machinations”.

This majority stands “beyond any doubt about our free democratic basic order,” said the minister. The protection of the constitution will “present a report on this topic at the end of September”. However, this status report on right-wing extremism in the public service was planned for a long time, regardless of current developments.

The chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Thuringia’s head of department Georg Maier (SPD), promised a study on racism in the police in the SPD-ruled countries. “It is unbearable that such networks exist,” Maier told dem Editorial network Germany: “We now have to take uncompromising and consistent action against it.”

Georg Maier (SPD), chairman of the conference of interior ministers

“The sheer number of individual cases is slowly becoming too much”

This includes exhausting all criminal and disciplinary options, said Maier. “There must not be the slightest doubt that police officers operate on the basis of the free and democratic basic order,” he added.

The SPD interior ministers are in agreement that they want to conduct a study on the allegation of racism in the police – and if necessary alone. “The sheer number of individual cases is slowly becoming too much,” said Maier.

“We strongly advocate intensifying research in this field,” said the SPD interior expert in the Bundestag, Lars Castellucci SZ. Nobody questions an entire profession because of individual incidents.

“Recognize attitude patterns early on”

The large majority in the police are constitutional, he also emphasized. It is all the more important, however, “to recognize early on whether there are attitude patterns and prejudices among employees of the security authorities”. There is also still a lack of intercultural competence in authorities.

Against 30 police officers, mostly from the Essen police headquarters, allegations are made of right-wing extremist activities. All 30 have been suspended from work, according to the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbert Reul (CDU), around 14 are subject to disciplinary proceedings with the aim of removing them from service, and around 12 are under criminal investigation.

In the summer, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) rejected a study on racism among the German police in view of the Black Lives Matter movement originating from the USA. His departmental colleagues from the Union in the federal states largely reject calls for a racism study.


Right-wing extremism in the police: Did not know anything about anything

North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul is shocked about Nazi symbols in the police. He himself uses the cliché of the “criminal migrant”.

How could that happen? Herbert Reul is taken by surprise Photo: Marcel Kusch / dpa

In the scandal surrounding right-wing extremist police officers, North Rhine-Westphalia’s CDU interior minister Herbert Reul is currently carrying out his typical crisis management program: swastikas, pictures of Hitler, depictions of a refugee in a gas chamber are chats from at least 29 officers from the police station in Essen Mülheim an der Ruhr found. Reul is promptly shocked, horrified, and does not skimp on strong words: the “most disgusting agitation” is “a shame for the NRW police”, asserts the 68-year-old.

“Yes, you have to stick together, you have to rely on each other in emergencies. But conversely, you all swore an oath to abide by the laws and the constitution. And if a colleague doesn’t do that, you have to report it, that’s also your duty, ”said Reul in a WDR2 interview on Thursday morning, September 17th.

When asked why the five right-wing extremist chat groups had not been noticed earlier in the police station and what explanation he had for this, Reul said: “At the moment, not a real one, if I’m honest.” There are attempts to explain. “I think that too often the police still think they have to cover everything through camaraderie,” said Reul.

As in the scandal about the massive child abuse in Lügde, where 155 DVDs with evidence simply disappeared from the police’s evidence room, the former college teacher promises relentless clarification by special investigators. The man from Leichlingen near Cologne is thus serving his image that has been cultivated for years: Reul wants to appear tough but fair – as Minister of the Interior who defends and enforces laws and which his voters can trust for precisely that reason.

Copyright on the term “clan crime”

This image is important for the entire state government. Because NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet is considered too liberal by many in the CDU, the political professional Reul, as a former member of the state parliament, general secretary of the North Rhine-Westphalian Christian Democrats and European parliamentarian in the business for 35 years, should cover the right flank of his party against the AfD.

In the struggle for the Hambach Forest, which is threatened by lignite excavators, Reul identified among the occupiers as “chaos and those prone to violence from all over Europe”. In autumn 2018, the conservative, who has three grown daughters with his wife Gundula, had the tree houses of the climate protection activists evacuated by thousands of police officers for the lignite group RWE – today his boss Laschet prides himself on having “saved” the Hambach Forest.

Reul shows no consideration in integration policy either. The hardliner has the copyright on the term “clan crime” which he brought into the political debate. He was the first to take open action against “clans” of migrants who questioned the state’s monopoly of violence, and he was promoting the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia – and thus unspokenly strengthened the image of the “criminal foreigner”.

Because Reul irritates again and again with generalized, whole population groups discriminating slogans: “If we look at the Turkish fellow citizens, then we have crime problems with the third generation”, he explained on September 15 on ZDF in the talk show by Markus Lanz – one The day before the scandal surrounding the right-wing extremist officers of the Essen Police Department was discovered.

Others have known for a long time

Reul could have been warned: For years, anti-racist initiatives such as the “Bündnis Essen ist sich quer” (Essq) have been pointing out that parts of the local police clearly sympathize with right-wing vigilante groups like the “Steeler Jungs”. There have been several allegations that Essen police officers used excessive force against migrants. Essq spokesmen criticized as early as March that Reul’s strategy of “1,000 pinpricks”, which is primarily directed against migratory meeting places such as shisha bars, led to “institutional racism” and “racial profiling” not only in Essen.

Essen’s police chief Frank Richter, who did not want to hear anything from the right-wing radical chats of his officers for eight years, responded promptly – with a lawsuit for libel against the initiative. Reul is likely to be just as innocent today: around 1 p.m. he wants to make a statement in the state parliament about the swastikas and Hitler pictures of his police officers. He shouldn’t even mention that he himself strongly supports the cliché of the “criminal migrant”.


Right-wing chats – Further searches of police officers – Politics

In the scandal over right-wing chats by police officers in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, two officers were searched on Friday. You have been suspended from duty, said State Interior Minister Lorenz Caffier (CDU) in Schwerin that evening. Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against two other police officers, but they have not been searched.

A total of 17 officials and a collective bargaining employee of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Police are now suspected of having exchanged right-wing extremist ideas in Internet chats.

For the past three years, right-wing extremist police officers have repeatedly been found in the state. The starting point was investigations by the Attorney General against the alleged right-wing extremist prepper group “Nordkreuz”, which according to Caffier is still going on. In this connection, extensive data had been obtained from an ex-elite police officer from the vicinity of Schwerin. This is now being evaluated more and more, said Caffier.

According to the current state of knowledge, Caffier does not see a connection to the right-wing extremist WhatsApp chats uncovered in North Rhine-Westphalia. According to Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), investigators have 30 police officers in their sights in NRW. Since not all of them had actively sent right-wing extremist messages to the group or cases are already statute-barred, only some of them are being prosecuted. Everyone was suspended. 14 officials are to be completely removed from the service.


Police scandal in NRW: images of Hitler and swastikas

In NRW, 29 police officers are suspended who exchanged information in right-wing extremist chat groups. Interior Minister Reul speaks of a “shame”.

Is appalled by the police affair: North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul Photo: Marcel Kusch / dpa

DÜSSELDORF / BERLIN taz | North Rhine-Westphalia is shaken by a police scandal. Since early Wednesday morning, searches of 29 police officers have been in progress in several cities. You are said to have shared right-wing extremist content in Whatsapp chat groups. Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) spoke of “the worst and most disgusting neo-Nazi, racist and anti-refugee agitation”. The incidents hit the police “to the core”. They are “a shame for the NRW police”.

Mainly affected is the Essen police headquarters. 25 of the 29 officials accused come from there. Most belonged to the subordinate service group in Mülheim an der Ruhr, which was completely suspended. The local service group leader is also accused, as well as another from the SEK Essen, one from the LKA, one from the State Office for Training and two from the State Office for Central Police Services.

A total of 34 police stations and private apartments were searched, in addition to Essen and Mülheim in Duisburg, Oberhausen and Moers. The officials are said to have exchanged right-wing extremist content in five private chat groups. The first of the groups is said to have been founded in 2012, the largest in 2015.

Swastikas and Hitler pictures

Reul spoke of well over 100 criminally relevant images in the chat groups. On display are Adolf Hitler and swastikas or fictional representations of a refugee in a gas chamber or a black person who is shot. The CDU politician spoke of “hideous content”. 11 of the officials are now being investigated for disseminating symbols of unconstitutional organizations and inciting hatred. You should have put the pictures in the groups.

The other 18 officers are said to have only received the pictures. However, disciplinary measures are now also in progress against them on suspicion of violations – because they did not report the content. According to Reul, all 29 police officers are suspended, they had to surrender their uniforms and service weapons and are no longer allowed to enter their service buildings. Efforts are being made to remove 14 officials from service.

“The process leaves me speechless,” said Reul. Right-wing extremists have “no place in the police”. He could no longer speak of individual cases. The majority of the 50,000 police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia are “highly decent people and democrats”.

Only revealed by accident

The investigators only came across the chat groups by chance – after a 32-year-old official was searched at the end of August. The policeman was accused of having disclosed police matters to a journalist. The chat groups were then discovered on his cell phone. Then a separate investigative group began its work, the “SoKo Parable”. And the scandal could expand: until now, the investigators only had access to the 32-year-old’s cell phone. Since Wednesday, however, far more data carriers have been evaluated.

Reul announced that he would deal with the affair “down to the smallest detail”. On Wednesday he ordered the formation of a special inspection for the Essen police headquarters. There it should be checked whether there are further cases and how many officials still knew of the chat groups. In addition, Reul announced a special representative for right-wing extremist tendencies in the state police, who will report directly to him. This should develop a picture of the situation and recommendations for action for prevention. There will also be regional conferences with police leaders.

Police union and politics “shaken”

The Essen police chief Frank Richter, whose house is mainly affected, said that he could not have imagined such a case. There were no abnormalities, only private devices were used for the chats. That none of the officers involved had informed his employer was shocking.

The police union in North Rhine-Westphalia also reacted with “great horror” to the incidents. “Fighting right-wing extremism is part of the police’s DNA,” said Vice President Michael Maatz. “The fact that there are still officials who share right-wing, xenophobic content in chat groups is unbearable.”

The CDU interior expert Christos Katzidis was also “deeply shaken”: “That those who should protect and defend our values ​​have trampled them instead is scandalous.” SPD country chief Sebastian Hartmann called for a “relentless explanation and zero Tolerance against the enemies of our democratic society ”.