DUSSELDORF, Germany – Twenty-nine police officers have been suspended in Germany for sharing photos of Adolf Hitler and doctoral images of refugees in gas chambers on their mobile phones, officials in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Wednesday.
They are also accused of using far-right chat rooms where extremist content is shared, such as swastikas and other Nazi symbols, which violates the German constitution.
The incident is embarrassing for German police and security agencies, who are accused of not doing enough to find potentially violent nationalists in their ranks.
This is a delicate issue in a country where Hitler̵
“This is a disgrace to the NRW police,” said NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul, announcing an investigation against 29 men and women.
Some of the suspects could be charged with spreading Nazi propaganda and hate speech and could be fired by police. Others are accused of failing to report to colleagues.
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“I’m horrified and ashamed,” said Frank Richter, chief of police in the city of Essen, where most of the suspects work. “It’s hard to find words.”
German prosecutors said last month that they were investigating a retired police officer suspected of sending threatening emails signed in the name of a gang of neo-Nazi assassins to prominent figures of immigrant origin.
The emails, including some sent to lawmakers with a Turkish past, were signed “NSU 2.0”, a reference to the neo-Nazi gang National Socialist Underground Society, which killed 2,000 people, mostly immigrants, between 2000 and 2007.