Exclusive Report: Cologne Police Chief Departs After New Year's Debacle

Cologne’s police chief has been forced to take a leave of absence over the scandal involving more than 100 women being robbed and sexually assaulted by a crowd of men during New Year’s celebrations in the city, the local newspaper reported Friday. Wolfgang Albers came under heavy pressure after internal reports released this week documented how police had lost control of a major crisis developing at the western city’s main train station on December 31. Some 170 women have since come forward to report they were sexually assaulted or robbed by a crowd of some 1,000 men. The news has shocked Germany and drawn condemnation from local and national politicians. According to an internal report by Germany’s national police, the Bundespolizei, published by the Bild mass tabloid newspaper, officers were prevented from pushing through the horde by heavily intoxicated men. The author described the situation as “chaos” that could have resulted in serious injury. The police officers, he wrote, were “bombarded with fireworks and pelted with glass bottles.” Mr. Albers’ status is now “non-active,” a form of temporary retirement, according to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper and Germany’s news agency DPA. Photo Source: DPA / Rolf Vennenbernd