‘Stop it or get lost’: Belgian police boss condemns officers’ racist Facebook group
Tuesday, 01 September 2020
Marc De Mesmaeker. Credit: Belga
The boss of the federal police in Belgium, Marc De Mesmaeker, told the police officers who made racist comments in a recently discovered private Facebook group to “stop it or get lost” in the Parliament on Tuesday.
In the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Home Affairs about the improper handling of the Chovanec case, De Mesmaeker also answered questions about the racist language in the Facebook group “Thin Blue Line,” which was brought to light by news website Apache on Monday, and of which some 6,700 active and retired policemen were members.
De Mesmaeker did not mince words in the Parliament. “Stop it and reflect,” he said. “And if you really mean what you post there, get lost! From now on, we are also going to make our selection machine run faster and better. We are going to find different and better [officers].”
“It is a pity that [such a group] exists,” De Mesmaeker said. “Initially, it was a good idea to have such a group. We can all learn a lot from each other, and share national and international police information. A noble initiative has been ruined.”
In the group, which was strictly reserved for people of the police but Apache gained access to, news items about difficulties between the police and young people from a migration background were shared, describing them as “viper brood,” “rats” or “vermin,” the website reports.
These were not just hurtful remarks, according to Apache, as violence against those youths would be encouraged and glorified in a number of cases.
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.