Three aspiring police officers could face jail time and expulsion from the police school in the eastern German town of Bautzen after local residents reported hearing Nazi slogans, the school said on Thursday.
Speaking to DW, school representative Thomas Knaup said the students had been “drinking heavily and things got out of hand.”
The young men are suspected of shouting “Sieg Heil” (a Nazi German chant that translates to “Hail Victory”) from an open window of a private residence.
Nazi symbols and slogans are banned in Germany, although exceptions can be made for purposes such as education or anti-Nazi satire. Parties that aim to jeopardize German democratic order are defined as “unconstitutional” by the country’s Basic Law.
No more uniforms
The neighbors alerted the police early on Thursday, with officers identifying the three suspects after arriving on the scene. Two of the suspects were 18 years old and the third one was 22, all of them are first-year students, according to the Saxony school.
The students were suspended later on Thursday.
“We will not tolerate anti-constitutional attitudes in the Saxony police,” the school’s headmaster Carsten Kaempf said in a statement.
Speaking to DW, school spokesman Knaup said chanting Nazi slogans “cannot be excused.”
The three trainees were forced to return their uniforms and official IDs, and are no longer allowed into the school building. The suspension will stay in force until the incident is cleared, and the students could face permanent expulsion.
In addition to the disciplinary measures taken by the school officials, the cadets also face a probe by the local criminal police. The violation of the ban on Nazi symbols is punishable by a monetary fine or a prison term of up to three years.