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Madrid police suspends three officers over death threats to mayor and journalists in Whatsapp group

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Madrid police suspends three officers over death threats to mayor and journalists in Whatsapp group
File photo of Madrid municipal police officers not related to the story. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
10:25 CET+01:00
Three officers have been suspended by Madrid's municipal police force over a Whatsapp group where death threats were made to public figures including the city's mayor and high-profile TV journalists, as well as towards a fellow officer who reported them.

Earlier this week newspaper El Diario revealed excerpts from the Whatsapp group used by over 100 police officers in which some of the members made comments expressing a desire for laSexta journalist Ana Pastor and her husband Antonio Garcia Ferreras to be killed, as well as other threats about Mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena.

The newspaper became aware of the group's content after one of the other officers who was a member filed a complaint about it at a police station in Madrid, and accused members of making threats towards him for reproaching them. Pastor meanwhile said she would take legal action in response.

READ ALSO: Top Spanish journalist to take legal action over death threats in police Whatsapp group

On Wednesday evening, Madrid's City Council said the municipal police had been informed about a group containing "a series of insults and serious threats to certain authorities of the local government, the media, general public and even the person who filed the complaint".

An internal investigation has been opened into the "possible authors", with preventative measures to be taken while it is carried out including "temporary suspension of duties, temporary withdrawal of their arms and credentials" and prohibiting the officers from accessing police data, Madrid City Council explained.

Police internal affairs also identified "very serious misconduct" with regard to breaches of rules covering "discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, political opinions, serious disregard for superiors, colleagues, subordinates or citizens in the exercise of their duty or discredit caused to the police institution".

On Monday a follow-up article from El Diario revealed messages from the chat praising Hitler and fascism as well as insulting and making threatening comments about immigrants.

The officer who reported the Whatsapp group has been offered "maximum protection with the goal of preventing further threats or any kind of physical or moral aggresion towards him," Madrid City Council noted.

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