German police have decided to disband a special police unit in the state of Essen after officers allegedly spread neo-Nazi propaganda in chat groups.
In it, among other things, Nazi symbols would have been exchanged.
Authorities have launched an investigation against 20 men who were in the chat groups.
Until then, the officers have been suspended.
On Wednesday, officers searched the homes and workplaces of suspicious colleagues.
The state minister of the interior Peter Beuth has now announced that the heavily armed SEK unit will be completely disbanded.
He complained about the culture within the unit.
Executives would have been aware but not intervened.
The twenty officers could lose their jobs or even face criminal charges.
The minister believes that the suspected men are no longer allowed to work for a special police unit in his state.
Similar cases have also come to light in recent months with the police in other German states and with the army. For example, about thirty agents in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia exchanged photos of Adolf Hitler and swastikas via WhatsApp messages, as well as flags of the Third Reich and a montage of a refugee in a gas chamber in a concentration camp.