A Swedish police investigator triggered a media tsunami with a Facebook post linking violent crimes with immigrants. Peter Springare received an outpouring of support from fellow officers and common Swedes, as well as some accusations of racism.
Springare is a senior investigator at the serious crimes division at the Örebro Police Department with 47 years under his belt. In the Saturday post he said what he was going to say would not be politically correct and that saying such things could harm an officer’s position or pay grade, but he was about to retire and didn’t care.
“Here we go; this is what I’ve handled from Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment,” he wrote.
“Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again. Christopher… what, is it true? Yes, a Swedish name snuck in on the edges of a drug crime. Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again,” he added.
The post goes on to identify the origins of the suspects.
“Countries representing all the crimes this week: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown, unknown country, Sweden. Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about their nationality and identity.”
The post steered waves in Sweden and has since received over 36,000 ‘likes’ and 16,000 ‘shares’ by Tuesday. People supporting Springare’s words started a group on Facebook with over 75,000 members. Among the people voicing support of the opinion were fellow police officers, both serving and retired.
According to news website Nyheter Idag, the police station where Springare works received at least 60 bouquets of flowers addressed to him on Monday – a “bloombomb” from admirers.
Others were not happy with the investigator’s remark, calling him right-wing or even racist. The post was referred to the special prosecutors’ office, which handles crimes involving law enforcement, to see whether it violated police regulations, according to Swedish media.
National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson said that it was important to distinguish what an officer does in the line of duty and outside of it.
“When he acts in his professional capacity, he should be extremely careful with issues of ethnicity. If he wants to talk about the problems of crime among immigrants in his spare time, he has freedom of expression like any other,” he told P4 Extra radio, adding that he knows Springare as a “very good person.”
In a second post, Springare denied accusations of right-wing sympathies.
“If you can't discuss the problem of crime among immigrants without somebody attributing it to racist propaganda, we are in deep trouble,” he said. “The problem is that nobody wants to talk about this.”
Establishing facts about how crime rates correlate with perpetrators belonging to the immigrant community is not the same thing as branding all immigrants criminals, Springare said explaining his position.
Swedish police reportedly has significant problems tackling crime in some parts of the country. There are allegedly at least 55 areas in Sweden, where the law cannot be fully upheld, which are dubbed ‘no-go zones’ by the media.