Malmö police chief ‘knew of racist remarks’

Malmö police chief Ulf Sempert has reported himself following admissions that he has previous knowledge about racist comments made on board a police bus but chose not to react.

The racial slurs uttered by three police officers on duty during disturbances in the city’s Rosengård district in December have sparked a storm of protest from the public, police leadership, and politicians.

On Thursday, Sempert himself issued several statements apologizing for the officers’ behaviour, adding that they had been reassigned.

But now Sempert has filed a complaint against himself after it was revealed that he knew about the comments before they began circulating in the media late Wednesday night, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reports.

The tape contains a conversation between police on the night of the December disturbances.

“You little ape son of a bitch. Should I make him sterile when I catch him?” said one police officer on the tape.

“Yeah, he’s going to get beat so well that he won’t be able to stand on his own legs,” answered a colleague.

Neither the police who filmed the racist comments nor who managed the investigation of the Rosengård disturbances reacted to what was said on the tape, but Sempert’s closest advisor was informed of the inappropriate statements by prosecutors when the film was submitted as evidence.

However, neither Sempert’s advisor nor the chief prosecutor knew exactly what was said at the time.

According to Sydsvenskan, Sempert learned of the inappropriate and racist comments, in part from his advisor, and in part from the chief prosecutor.

When the newspaper confronted Sempert about his prior knowledge of the racist remarks, he claimed the reason he didn’t react was that he must have seen the matter as “one of many issues” and thought that it had landed the county police commissioners desk.

“It sounds just like a poor excuse and that makes it even worse,” he told the newspaper.

“It’s better that they be allowed to investigate it,” he added, referring to department’s internal affairs investigators.