German prosecutors are investigating a police officer for allegedly distributing internal police information on the 2016 Berlin terror attack to friends in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, public broadcasters reported Friday.
The officer, himself a member of the AfD, and fellow party members were part of a chat group on the messenger service Telegram when a terrorist drove a truck into the Christmas market at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz Square on December 19, 2016, killing 12, NDR and ARD reported.
Around 90 minutes after the attack, the officer reportedly sent internal police information to the group.
The following day, results of the forensic investigation of the truck used in the attack were also sent to the chat group from the officer’s phone number, according to the reports.
More information then followed, along with explicit instructions not to pass it on, otherwise the flow of information would stop, NDR and ARD reported.
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Recipient is suspect in separate attacks
One of the 12 members of the chat group is reportedly a suspect in a series of politically motivated attacks on left-wing stores and individuals that have taken place in the Berlin neighbourhood of Neukölln since 2013.
The group member was previously charged with committing damage to property and is currently under investigation regarding an instance of arson, according to the reports.
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Calls for removal
The Berlin officer’s phone was reportedly confiscated last year during an investigation into the Neukölln attacks. That is when investigators first discovered the chat group.
The Berlin police did not disclose whether the officer will be disciplined internally.
Member of Germany’s Bundestag Martina Renner, from the leftist Die Linke party, called for consequences for the officer.
“Anyone who passes on internal police information to enemies of democracy and to suspected arsonists needs to be out of this job,” she said.
Concern over police ties to far-right
Victim of one of the arson attacks Ferat Kocak expressed his concern about the revelations.
“Something like this frightens me and my family as we have long since lost sight of who we can trust and who is being protected here,” he told ARD and NDR.
He wondered how many connections had to be made between the right-wing scene and Berlin officers before “the demand of those affected by right-wing terror in Neukölln for a committee of inquiry is finally taken seriously?”