Belgian police officers glorify violence in private Facebook group
Monday, 31 August 2020
A private Facebook group police officers in Belgium uses racist language and glorifies violence.
The group, named “Thin Blue Line Belgium,” is available to both active and retired police officers, according to the Apache news website, which gained access to the group and analysed the messages posted in the group in August.
The Facebook group mainly shared and commented on riots and arrests in Belgium and abroad in August. The posts on the Facebook page are usually heavily commented on or there are discussions among the members, Apache wrote.
Young people with a migration background are clearly and repeatedly dehumanised in the group, according to Apache, which refers to descriptions including “viper brood,” “rats” or “vermin.”
In a number of cases, violence is glorified or encouraged. The officers also exchange tips for arrests that are not by the book. For example, someone advises to give a push to detainees who are being held in a police vehicle so that the person would hit their head against the body of the car.
Apache also noted that fellow users hardly react to the racist language and calls for violence and that the moderator of the page does not seem to play an active role either.
The Interfederal Equal Opportunities Centre (Unia) told Apache that it is concerned “that policemen make statements on social media in this way, just because it shows how people look at people from certain population groups,” but according to Unia, a substantive assessment of the statements published on “Thin Blue Line Belgium” cannot be done, as it did not investigate the Facebook page itself.