Saturday, March 13, 2010

Police Chief Comment on Eastern Europeans.

Last weekend, in connection with a recent murder case in Denmark, a Danish police chief in the homicide department, Ove Dahl, was quoted in the Politiken newspaper as saying (my translation):
The open borders results in us being overrun by Eastern Europeans. It's a huge problem. They commit bank robberies, burglaries, serious thief, begging, shoplifting - everything.
The Romanians are unscrupulous. They kill for a couple hundred kroner. It's a completely different culture.
After reading the quote, the vice president of the Radikal Liberal party, Zenia Stampe, reported the police chief for violation of section 266b of the Danish Penal code, which makes public comments degrading or insulting a particular group of persons on account of, inter alia, nationality, an offence.

The next day the police chief appologised, well kind of appologised, for his remarks and Zenia Stampe withdrew her accusation.

What happened next, is the most interesting thing in this matter: The near universal condemnation of Stampe! MP's, members of the public and the rightwing Jyllands Posten newspaper rushed to support of the police chief and disapproval of Stampe. Even the liberal Politiken devoted an editorial to the matter, criticising Stampe and calling the police chiefs remarks 'unfortunate'.

My own thoughts on this matter are somewhat contradictory.

I cannot condone Stampe, as I a disapprove of the inclusion of section 266b in the penal code. Although rarely used and requires a clear degrading statement, e.g. "All .... are vermin", for conviction, the section is an affront to freedom of speech.

I must, on the other hand, be critical of the police chiefs remarks, which in my opinion are xenophobic, even if there is an increased and large amount of crime being commited by Eastern Europeans. If quoted correctly, the police chief, by using general language such as 'being overrun by Eastern Europeans', 'The Romanians' and 'different culture', was not just directing his remarks to those committing crimes in Denmark, but to Eastern Europeans and Romanians in general.

The support for the police chiefs remarks by the politicians, newspapers and members of the public, therefore reveals a deafness to xenophobic language which exists in Denmark.