(photo credit: REUTERS)
A senior police officer in Belgium was transferred from his post for the duration of an investigation into claims that he abused Jewish subordinates and denied the Holocaust.
So far, five of the 15 officers who had served under Commissioner Geert Verhoeyen at the canine police unit of Brussels Midi complained about his alleged hate speech in recent years against gays, foreigners and Jews, the Het Laatste Nieuws daily reported. The report was a follow-up to a story published earlier Wednesday about Verhoeyen by the BX1 television station.
One complainant, who has Jewish roots, said that Verhoeyen called him to his office in 2015 and played music that was played at Nazi death camps, according to Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Antisemitism, or LBCA. A similar incident happened to another officer with Jewish roots in 2016, Rubinfeld said. One of the complainants’ grandparents was sent to a concentration camp.
The commissioner said the songs were “for real men.”
“Paradoxically, he also denied the Holocaust during these two conversations,” Rubinfeld said, based on the complaints against Verhoeyen, who allegedly called the genocide “nonsense, lies.” He also is accused of calling one officer with Jewish roots “cheap,” BX1 reported.
Belgian media reporting on the internal probe of Verhoeyen’s behavior did not feature his reaction to the allegations, but Charles Picque, chief of regional police, warned against “premature judgment” of Verhoeyen before the investigation’s conclusion.
“We know there are conflicts among service personnel, but they are not necessarily as presented” in the complaints, Picque said.