A leaked memo produced by police in Cologne, Germany claims German politicians tried to force law officers to cover up migrant sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve by purging the word “rape” from a police report.
During celebrations in Cologne to mark the new year, an out-of-control situation developed in which dozens of young men, including several recently-arrived Muslim migrants, worked in groups to rob or sexually assault women in and around the city’s central train station.
Shortly into the new year, Cologne police produced an internal memo concerning the wave of “rape, sexual harassment, [and] thefts” and attributing the behavior to groups of foreign men, according to the Express, a local Cologne paper.
But shortly after creating the memo, another document obtained by the Express this week says they received a phone call from the police headquarters for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In the call, police were told to either take down the memo entirely, or else remove the word “rape” from it. The order, it was understood, came from the state’s interior minister, Ralf Jäger.
Police refused the order in the end, but the incident lends further support to the idea that the German government knew about the wave of sexual assaults from the beginning, and worked to downplay it for political reasons rather than warning the public.
It eventually took days of increasingly intense media coverage before the wave of sexual assaults was publicly acknowledged by police. Jäger has already reacted to the scandal by forcing Cologne’s chief of police into early retirement, and some politicians say Jäger should be next.
A spokesman for Jäger released a statement denying that any cover-up was intended, but he did admit that “professional discussions” had occurred regarding how police should refer to the New Year’s Eve events.
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