Berlin police chief wants 20 far-right officers fired

Dozens of officers are facing disciplinary action after scandals including a racist group chat. Several could be dismissed altogether. 

Berlin police officers on patrol in Friedrichshain. 
Berlin police officers on patrol in Friedrichshain. dpa

Berlin-Berlin's police department has confirmed it is investigating several dozen suspected cases of right-wing extremism within its own ranks. Currently, almost 40 disciplinary proceedings are being conducted over such accusations, police chief Barbara Slowik told theWelt newspaper. She also confirmed that half of these proceedings are being conducted with the aim of "dismissing the persons concerned from duty." 

Despite the high barriers set by administrative courts when dismissing officers, Slowik said she assumes "that we are right in at least some cases."  However, she emphasised that the vast majority of police officers in the capital are not extremist: "Of the 26,000 employees in the Berlin police force, 99.9 per cent abide firmly with the German constitution." She said she is "annoyed and angry that a select few are besmirching our reputation like this."

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In recent months, a series of suspected cases of right-wing extremism within police ranks has arisen in several of Germany's federal states. At the beginning of October, for example, TV politics show Monitor reported on a racist group chat comprised of Berlin police officers. Among other things, members of the group expressed sympathies for neo-Nazis and directed hate speech towards Muslims and refugees.