Maybe racist rhetoric on social media isn’t really your thing, but 72 Philadelphia police officers just got yanked off the street and reassigned to administrative duty because it’s apparently theirs.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Philadelphia Police Department has taken 72 officers off street duty as it continues to investigate scores of racist or offensive Facebook posts allegedly made by city cops — the largest number of officers placed on desk duty at one time in recent history, Commissioner Richard Ross said Wednesday.
During a news conference at Police Headquarters nearly three weeks after advocates published a database cataloging the posts, Ross said that although no officers had yet been disciplined, he expected dozens to face internal consequences and at least several to be fired. He did not identify any by name.
“We are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw, and that in many cases the rest of the nation saw,” Ross said. After noting that the alleged behavior of his police force “makes me sick,” he added: “We are in a position to know better.”
As we reported earlier this month, a database created by the Plain View Project revealed approximately 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct by 85,000 police officers throughout the country, including their social media profiles and behavior.
But as cities across the nation have launched investigations into the Plain View Project’s findings, Philadelphia isn’t the only city unnerved by what it’s discovered. CNN reports that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner prohibited 22 officers from bringing their cases to the Circuit Attorney’s Office, refusing to prosecute any case where these officers serve as primary witnesses.
“When a police officer’s integrity is compromised in this manner, it compromises the entire criminal justice system and our overall ability to pursue justice,” Gardner said in a statement. “After careful examination of the underlying bias contained in those social media posts, we have concluded that this bias would likely influence an officer’s ability to perform his or her duties in an unbiased manner.”
With so many police interactions escalating unnecessarily and concluding in violence or death, hopefully this database serves as a wake-up call for cities to hold their police departments accountable. Because it’s clear there’s a connection between actions and ideologies; but we didn’t need a database to tell us what we already knew.