SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Five Rotterdam police offers who were members of a racist Whatsapp group have been given formal written warnings, police chief Fred Westerbeke said on Thursday.
An inquiry into the group began last July after the NRC reported that police officers were using racist and derogatory terms to describe people who have an ethnic minority background.
The chat group had been closed down in 2019 following complaints from other officers. The police officers were commenting on a video which showed a white teenager being beaten up by a number of black teens in the Rotterdam district of Spijkenisse.
They described the perpetrators as ‘cancer people and c*** Africans’ who they would like to ‘shoot’, the NRC said. Westerbeke said he had been shocked by the comments.
‘This issue is high on the agenda for the coming years,’ he said. An important part making change, he said, is becoming a ‘more diverse team, with talents from different backgrounds, so that we better reflect the make-up of our society.’
In 2019, a former team leader in The Hague’s police force said the city’s division is riddled with racism and discrimination. Fatima Aboulouafa, who is of Moroccan origin, said some officers in the city described themselves as ‘Marokkanenverdelgers’ (‘eradicators of Moroccans’) and cited instances of officers using excessive violence which they allegedly lied about in witness statements.
A formal written warning is the lightest punishment that can be handed down, RTL Nieuws reported.