B.Frankfurt police officers are once again suspected of having participated in right-wing extremist chats. The focus is on a SEK official who is also said to have been guilty of possession of child pornography. As the Frankfurt public prosecutor announced on Wednesday, several apartments were searched by other SEK officials in the morning. The extent is currently unclear.
The Frankfurt police chief Gerhard Bereswill made it clear in a specially convened press conference that he wanted to have the most recent cases criminally prosecuted. If police officers expressed incitement to the people, the “cornerstone of democracy and the rule of law is affected”. Bereswill described the integrity of the police as “an immensely valuable asset”.
Police chief does not give a number
Bereswill also announced that the case will affect the entire SEK in Frankfurt. From tomorrow on it will be the task of “reorganizing the SEK”. Bereswill did not want to give a number of how large the entire SEK in Hesse is. According to reports, an entire strand of the special unit breaks away with the 20 suspects, who have since been suspended. When asked, Bereswill said that the security of the citizens would continue to be guaranteed. But you will now have to make use of the network of special forces, “this is currently being prepared”. In addition, I have the opportunity to fill the gap that has arisen by moving other units out of the house.
The investigations are directed against a total of 20 officers, including 19 active police officers and a former police officer, aged 29 to 54 years. Seventeen of them are accused of having distributed incitatory content as participants in various chat groups. Most of the entries that the investigators were able to reconstruct are older and date from 2016 and 2017. But also from 2019, when right-wing extremist chats within the police were an issue in the investigation of the NSU threatening letter series NSU 2.0 Messages sent and posts shared among each other.
Investigations into child pornography
The police had tracked down the group when they were investigating the 38-year-old SEK officer for child pornography. When evaluating his communication, they also discovered right-wing extremist chats. The accused was active in the Special Operations Command (SEK) of the Frankfurt Police Headquarters, as were the other officers, whose apartments have now been searched. The Hessian State Criminal Police Office started the investigation on April 21, 2021 on behalf of the public prosecutor’s office. A working group was set up. In the course of further evaluation, the 20 officers could be identified.
Investigations into three suspects who held higher positions within the unit were initiated solely on suspicion of obstruction of punishment in the office. They had taken part in the chat group as a participant, that is, they were aware of the content. In their function as supervisors, however, they did not prevent communication and ensured that the chats were punished under criminal or official law.
The homes of six suspects between the ages of 41 and 47, as well as their offices in the police headquarters, were searched. The ban on conducting official business was issued against 19 accused SEK officials. One of the officers will also be suspended. In addition, according to the public prosecutor, the communicative content is checked “for any relevance under service law”