In May 2020, a picture was circulating on Facebook that is supposed to show a thief. It is internal to the police. A 49-year-old civil servant was now on trial in Giessen (Hesse).
Giessen – A year ago, a photo was circulating on Facebook that showed a suspected thief. The wanted man is said to have broken into cars in the east of the district. The picture spread quickly. The problem: The photo was not a wanted picture officially published by the police. Rather, it came from the police’s internal network, someone had photographed it on the screen. On Friday, a 49-year-old police officer was sentenced to a fine for violating official secrets. However, he denied the act.
According to the prosecutor’s office, on May 16, 2020, during his night shift, the defendant took a screenshot from the intranet search system and sent the picture to an acquaintance. He published it a little later on Facebook. It wasn’t long before the mayor of the municipality noticed the photo. He then informed the police because he had realized that it was not an official search for a wanted man. The investigation was started in Giessen.
Hesse: The police photo scandal is being heard in the Giessen court
The 49-year-old police officer gave his view of things in court on Friday. Accordingly, he had received the photo from a friend shortly before the night shift and then later forwarded it to said acquaintance. As an indication to take good care of your car, as the defendant emphasized. However, he did not register that it was an internal mug shot. The defendant said that he was completely blown that day because of a private stroke of fate.
Judge Maddalena Fouladfar did not really want to believe this description. This was due, among other things, to the testimony of the policewoman who was entrusted with the internal investigation. Accordingly, the defendant initially told another version, namely that an acquaintance had sent him the photo. The woman also confirmed this in court. Accordingly, she received the picture from a Whatsapp group and forwarded it to the defendant. “After all, he’s a police officer.” The police investigation revealed, however, that the defendant had already sent the photo to his friend before he received the picture of the woman.
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Giessen (Hessen): The police officer had previously breached official confidentiality
The man who said he had sent the photo to the accused before his night shift also appeared as a witness in court. He said he couldn’t remember where he originally got the photo from. When the judge asked why the accused had not already told this variant in the course of the investigation, his lawyer said that he had forgotten the facts because of the stroke of fate. It was only when the two recently met that it came up. However, there is no evidence of the sending: The witness stated that he had a new cell phone, the defendant in turn asserted that he had deleted the chat history, which he regularly does.
The public prosecutor did not believe this variant, they pleaded for a fine of 120 daily rates of 50 euros. The defense attorney demanded acquittal, among other things because, in his opinion, someone else could have photographed the photo and put it into circulation. Judge Fouladfar imposed a fine of 90 daily rates of 50 euros. She did not believe the accused’s description. Among other things, because he has a criminal record. He’s been convicted once before. Because of the breach of official secrecy. (chh)
It is not the first time that a court case has cast the police headquarters in Central Hesse in a bad light. Just a few weeks ago, the negotiation of investigations into drug deals hit the headlines.