Roger Waters,  Pink Floyd musician, is the subject of a criminal investigation by German police because of a Nazi-style outfit he donned during a recent concert in Berlin.

Martin Halweg, a spokesman for Berlin police, told the Guardian that “an investigation has been opened over the costume displayed at the concerts on May 17 and 18.”

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In Germany, it is against the law to display Nazi symbols, such as the SS insignia or the swastika, with the exception of educational displays and aesthetic settings.

During a performance of the song In the Flesh at an event at Berlin’s Mercedes Benz Arena, Waters made an onstage appearance as Pink from the rock opera The Wall while donning a black leather trench coat and a red armband with two crossed hammers in place of a swastika.

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The rock opera’s protagonist experiences this song when he enters a drug-induced hallucination in which he imagines himself speaking to a neo-Nazi crowd as a fictitious fascist dictator.

Halweg added, “The context of the clothing worn is deemed capable of approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims and thereby disrupts public peace. After the conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office for legal assessment.”

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Bob Geldof sang the same song in the 1982 movie adaptation of The Wall while dressed in a Nazi uniform, and in the 2010–2013 The Wall Live tour, which featured nine performances in Germany, Roger Waters donned a similar outfit.

Police in Berlin will review video of his other performances in Germany as part of their inquiry to determine whether the outfit has been altered, according to Halweg.

Waters is due to play a concert in Frankfurt on Sunday that city magistrates had tried to cancel, accusing him of being “one of the most widely known antisemites in the world”.