Rotterdam police investigating racism in cops' WhatsApp group: report

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

The Rotterdam police launched an "in-depth investigation" into racist remarks made by police officers chatting in a WhatsApp group called the "Jan Smit Appgroup". They made racial slurs about ethically diverse people saying they want to "shoot" them, NRC reported based on screen shots of the chats. According to the newspaper, the police launched an investigation after questions from NRC.

According to NRC, in the WhatsApp group, ethically diverse people were referred to as "kankervolk", "kutafrikanen" and "pauperallochtonen" - slurs that roughly translate to "cancer peoples", "cunt Africans", and "pauper immigrants". In January 2019, after a video appeared on Dumpert showing a white teenager being beaten up by black peers in Spijkenisse, one cop wrote: "Hope they get caught, hopefully not by the police, but first by others who give them even harder blows."

"The statements in the text group crossed all lines," Karin Krukkert, deputy police chief of the Rotterdam police unit, said to the newspaper. She said that she is "disappointed and angry" with the involved cops. "They betray the confidence of colleagues and citizens."

Martin Sitalsing, police chief in the Midden-Nederland unit and in charge of the racism portfolio in the police, told NRC that "harsh action" is appropriate against these officers. He called for charges to be pressed and a criminal investigation to be launched. 

According to Sitalsing, racist slurs in police chat groups is something that occurs throughout the country. "Those text groups are really a phenomenon within the police that you can find everywhere. I want to put together how we can combat this and not just deal with incidents," he said. "We must now tackle the problems of racism and discrimination."

According to NRC, five Limburg cops were recently dismissed for using "derogatory language" about Eastern Europeans in such a WhatsApp  group. And in The Hague, four cops were recently punished for racist language and sharing videos of a detainee of Moroccan descent being beaten with a baton. There is also a Facebook groups in which cops lash out against their colleagues who joined Black Lives Matter protests, the newspaper wrote.