Emmen cop reprimanded over "Moroccan chancers" tweet

new police uniform 1
New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)

A police officer in Emmen caused quite a commotion on social media with a tweet about "Moroccan chancers" who tried to catch a train after missing a bus. The Emmen police reprimanded the neighborhood officer and instructed him to take the tweet down.

The officer wrote on Twitter: "Last train in Emmen with some Moroccan chancers who wanted to go to Ter Apel, but missed the bus. Fine walk then!"

He got many responses on Twitter, according to RTV Drenthe. "Were these people in need? Either way this is a stupid statement full of responses", one response read. "This really can't be allowed. An officer who openly gloats at the suffering of people is anything but professional." another wrote. And: "Apparently this Twitter user is a comfortable member of a racist corps there in Emmen. Success in your career, you bastard."

On Facebook the Zuidoost-Drenthe police acknowledged the reactions they received to the tweet. "The tweet was removed and the employee was reprimanded", the police write.

Ethnic profiling has been a frequent topic of debate in the Netherlands over the past months. It started up again when rapper Typhoon was pulled over in Zwolle because police officers thought his skin color does not match his expensive car. The same thing happened to Feyenoord goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer. Following these incidents Maurice de Hond decided to poll Dutch voters on the issue and found that 64 percent of Dutch voters consider ethnic profiling by the police acceptable if it is done to fight crime.

These incidents triggered the Amsterdam police to launch an experiment in which police officers have to record exactly why they pulled over a car for a check. The police hope that this will help identify ethnic profiling, so it can be better addressed.

In July a Moroccan-Dutch police officer pressed charges against his Enschede colleagues, who arrested him while he was trying to help his father and brother report a crime. He was told that "he does not look like a police officer", according to the Amsterdam cop.

An internal police report leaked to Brandpunt Reporter last month showed concluded that ethnic profiling is a prevalent problem in the Oost-Brabant police department, which the report focused on. 20 percent of officers in that department admitted to regularly stop and check people of certain ethic group, and another 41 percent admitted to sometimes doing so. “The overall conclusion is that most of the cops in Oost-Brabant let ethnicity play a major roll and are convinced that this approach is justified”, the report read.

Another recent study by Police & Science concluded that ethnic minorities are disproportionately often stopped and checked by police officers, and that in many cases these checks are unjustified. The researchers stated that ethnic profiling “unintentionally contributes to inequality in society”. They advised that the police make addressing this a priority.

In December last year former police chief Gerard Bouman promised firm action against any police officer caught discriminating against people of another race. Speaking specifically of asylum seekers, he said: “If you’re going to differentiate according to religion, race, or whether someone is a refugee or not, then there is no place for you in this corps.” He stepped down two months later.