Five Rotterdam cops reprimanded for racism in WhatsApp group

News

Five Rotterdam police officers were given a written remand for making racist statements in a chat group with colleagues in 2019. This is the lightest possible form of punishment the police can impose on employees, ANP reports.

“These colleagues have touched and disappointed many people,” Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke said. “I was shocked by the statements in the messages. I find them discriminatory, racist and hurtful.”

But he added that this involves messages from two years ago and that the cops are “sincerely sorry”. Westerbeke therefore finds the light punishment justified. A more severe punishment would have no added value, he said.

The racist statements came out at once last year, but investigation showed that there was more evidence of racism in the WhatsApp group. It was therefore established that the officers failed to do their duty. But according to Westerbeke, investigation also showed that the officers in question “do their work without regards to persons and provide assistance to anyone who needs it”.

Westerbeke does not see this as an incident and therefore wants to launch a broader investigation into racism within the police force, he said.

Six police officers were found to make racist statements in the chat group. One of them is no longer a cop and is currently in custody for leaking information from a drug investigation, according to the news wire.