Philadelphia Police Department reassigns 72 cops over racist and violent Facebook posts
Seventy-two police officers in Philadelphia have been placed on desk duty as department officials investigate racist, offensive or violent Facebook posts, the city’s top cop said.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Wednesday that he expects several dozen officers to be disciplined and some to lose their jobs after a team of researchers compiled a database of troubling public posts on the social media platform purportedly written by cops in eight jurisdictions nationwide.
“We are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw, and that in many cases the rest of the nation saw,” Ross told reporters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We are in a position to know better.”
Ross said the posts on the Plain View Project defied common sense and made him “sick,” prompting department brass to put the largest number of officers on desk duty at one time in recent history after 330 officers of the city’s 6,500 cops were included in the database.
The database allows users to browse more than 5,000 Facebook posts allegedly authored by 3,500 active duty or former officers in Philadelphia; Dallas; St. Louis; Phoenix; York, Pennsylvania; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Florida. Users can also search by an officer’s name, badge number, rank or keyword — like “kill” or “hate.”
In one post, an active duty Philly cop who earns more than $76,000 annually wrote in 2015 about his version of the Miranda warning, saying that anyone taken into custody has the right to “[shut] the f–k up.”
“Anything you say will cause me to f–king throat punch you,” the post continued. “You have the right to an attorney … if you can’t afford one that’s your f–king fault … you should have done better in life.”
In another post from November 2017, a man identified by the database as a Philadelphia police sergeant posted a link to a story about a clerk being killed by a robbery suspect.
“Just another savage that needs to be exterminated,” the post read.
The database, which was released earlier this month, has already led St. Louis’ top prosecutor to ban 22 city police officers from bringing cases to her office.
Ross, meanwhile, said he didn’t think Wednesday’s announcement would dramatically impact department staffing levels. None of the officers were identified and they will be continue being paid, Ross told reporters.
“Of all the things we have to contend with in this police department, of all the issues that we have to deal with, this is one we certainly could have done without,” Ross said.
But a police union spokesman said the move to reassign the cops was “premature and irresponsible” without a full investigation into the posts.