With his “ZDF Magazin Royale”, moderator Jan Böhmermann had investigated how police stations react to hate messages online. The action now has consequences for some officials.

Hate on the internet is an important issue. But what happens if you want to report hate comments to the police? “ZDF Magazin Royale” asked itself this question – and gave police departments in all 16 federal states the same task.

Correspondents for the late-night show went to all the selected offices and wanted to place the same ads against seven obviously criminally relevant comments on the Internet. The results differed significantly: in some federal states, criminals could be identified and convicted. In others, the preliminary investigations were discontinued or not even started – in some cases, the reports themselves were not even accepted.

Bremen and Saxony-Anhalt: Investigations after the Böhmermann broadcast

The Böhmermann experiment now also has consequences for several officers involved: In Bremen, the public prosecutor’s office is investigating a police officer on suspicion of frustration. The police officer is said to have recorded the report, but only entered it in the system two months later when asked. In addition to the investigations, according to the Bremen police, the officer was “removed from direct contact with the citizens as an immediate measure and transferred to the office.”

Internal investigations were also launched in Saxony-Anhalt. Since “the concrete allegations became known in the last week”, investigations have been carried out against an officer at the police station on suspicion of evading criminal prosecution, the Magdeburg Police Inspectorate announced on Saturday. According to the current status of the investigation, the criminal complaint was “not received at the time.” The matter is being investigated thoroughly and comprehensively.

There were also reactions to the research from other countries – there was praise for the police in Hesse on the show. “Everything was done in eleven minutes. (…) It can be that easy,” summed up the police testers from “ZDF Magazin Royale”. At least one suspect has been charged there. The Hessian police saw themselves confirmed. “Ever since the murder of District President Walter Lübcke, we have been taking the fight against hate and hate speech very seriously, including on the Internet,” said a spokesman for the Hessian Ministry of the Interior on Saturday.

Sources: dpa, “ZDF Magazin Royale”, polizei.bremen.de