Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - Most members of an alleged right-wing extremist Kegel chat group made up of North Rhine-Westphalian police officers are threatened with legal proceedings.
In eleven cases, the public prosecutor's office had already affirmed a criminal relevance, said NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) on Thursday in the interior committee of the NRW state parliament in Düsseldorf.
"Everything is now taking its legal course."
The group, which became known at the end of November, had 15 members, 13 of whom were active police officers and 2 were retired.
All of them had a connection to the Essen Police Headquarters.
The active civil servants were suspended, and part of the retirement pension would be retained for each pensioner, according to Reul.
A chat participant is now working for another state that has been informed about the case.
Among other things, the members of the group had painted a swastika on a board for a bowling game and had themselves photographed in front of it, reported Reul.
In addition, there were corresponding sayings and pictures in the chat.
Many data carriers and devices have been found and for the most part evaluated.
According to the information, the investigators had become aware of the Kegel group during investigations into the scandal surrounding right-wing extremist suspected cases at the North Rhine-Westphalian security authorities.
So two police officers belonged to another previously known chat group, which had a total of 31 participants.
All belonged to the Mülheim police station.
Some of the members have since been exonerated.
Disciplinary proceedings were still ongoing against all 31.
In the case, an investigation file with 13,000 pages should be handed over, announced Reul.
According to the minister, 216 employees have been counted as right-wing extremist suspected cases at the NRW security authorities since the beginning of 2017.
For some, the accusation was not confirmed.
So far 175 cases have been presented to the public prosecutor.
57 consider them to be relevant under criminal law, 84 as not relevant under criminal law.
In 34 cases an assessment is still pending, said Reul.
Every hint is followed up consistently.
The suspicion should not arise that the police are not taking the issue seriously.