29 German Police Officers Arrested After Neo-Nazi Images Are Shared In Their WhatsApp Group, Including Pictures Of Refugees In Gas Chambers

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29 German Police Officers Arrested After Neo-Nazi Images Are Shared In Their WhatsApp Group, Including Pictures Of Refugees In Gas Chambers

Photo: Herbert Reul, North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister presents the state's unit for arrests and securing evidence in February 2019(EPA)

29 serving German police officers have been suspended from duty after sharing neo-Nazi images on their WhatsApp groups. The images included Adolf Hitler and refugees in gas chambers. There were also forums used by officers that showed swastikas and other Nazi imagery.

The officers from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) involved in this case face charges of spreading hate speech and sharing banned images. Under German law, most of the imagery of Nazi Germany is illegal outside of educational settings.

NRW Interior Minister, Herbert Reul, released a statement saying:

"This is the worst and most repulsive kind of hate-baiting. Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have absolutely no place in the North Rhine-Westphalia police, our police."

Frank Richter, the police chief in the city of Essen, added:

"I'm appalled and ashamed. It is hard to find words."

The revelations come shortly after a series of other incidents that showed military and law enforcement personnel in Germany involved in various far-right activity. In July, a former police officer was arrested for sending threatening messages to public figures from ethnic minority backgrounds. The messages were signed off as NSU 0.2, in reference to the National Socialist Underground, a gang that roamed Germany over a number of years and killed a total of 10 immigrants in neo-Nazi inspired attacks.

In June, Germany's elite KSK commando unit was disbanded after it was discovered that dozens of its members were Nazi supporters and that some had stolen explosives and ammunition as part of a planned future coup attempt against the German government. Raids against the suspected coup plotters found 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 62kg (137lbs) of explosives. Some members also discussed carrying out attacks on other Germans and blaming them on Islamic extremists in order to advance support for their cause and use the chaos to seize power.

German authorities believe as many as 600 officers are actively involved in the neo-Nazi scene.

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Thinking Humanity: 29 German Police Officers Arrested After Neo-Nazi Images Are Shared In Their WhatsApp Group, Including Pictures Of Refugees In Gas Chambers
29 German Police Officers Arrested After Neo-Nazi Images Are Shared In Their WhatsApp Group, Including Pictures Of Refugees In Gas Chambers
29 serving German police officers have been suspended from duty after sharing neo-Nazi images on their WhatsApp groups.
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