One day before the start of the trial for the murder of a police officer near Kusel in Rhineland-Palatinate, investigators went on a nationwide raid because of hate messages on the Internet. The Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Interior announced this on Monday in Mainz. These resulted from the work of the special investigation group “Hate Speech”, which was founded because of the dissemination of hate comments after the crime.

According to the Rhineland-Palatinate public prosecutor’s office in Koblenz, there were more than 80 searches across Germany. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the authorities called a double-digit number of raids. The measures in this federal state were directed against around 34 suspects, said a spokesman for the central and contact point for cybercrime (ZAC) in North Rhine-Westphalia.

A 39-year-old suspected poacher has to answer to the district court in Kaiserslautern for the murder of the police officer from Tuesday. He is said to have shot the two officers during a night traffic check on a country road near Kusel at the end of January in order to prevent his illegal hunting activity from being exposed. The crime triggered nationwide horror, but according to the authorities, it also led to hate comments online welcoming the crime.

In the first three weeks after the crime, the investigative team led by the Koblenz public prosecutor’s office found more than 1,600 indications of hate and hate speech in connection with the crime on the Internet. According to the State Criminal Police Office, 509 of these cases were criminally relevant.