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.


Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.