13 Philadelphia police officers to be fired for racist, homophobic Facebook posts

Elise Solé
13 Philadelphia police officers might be fired for posting racist and homophobic rhetoric on Facebook. (Photo: Getty Images)
13 Philadelphia police officers might be fired for posting racist and homophobic rhetoric on Facebook. (Photo: Getty Images)

Thirteen police officers in Philadelphia will likely be fired for social media posts that encouraged violence against black, Muslim, gay, and transgender people.

The investigation was conducted by The Plainview Project, a database of Facebook posts made by former and active-duty police officers across the country and released on June 1. Posts ranged from a meme that read, “Death to Islam,” to statements like “F*** [Iraqis] and their country,” and “F these Muslim turd goat humpers.”

“We present these posts and comments because we believe that they could undermine public trust and confidence in our police,” reads the project’s website. “In our view, people who are subject to decisions made by law enforcement may fairly question whether these online statements about race, religion, ethnicity and the acceptability of violent policing — among other topics — inform officers’ on-the-job behaviors and choices.”

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said in a Thursday news conference that 72 police officers have been removed from street duty as a result of the investigation and face varying degrees of punishment based on the officers’ constitutional rights and “the integrity of the police department.”

Ross said many of the officers violated the department’s social media directive, with posts that encouraged excessive force, but not necessarily on a person in a specific protected class.

“A second group of officers posted material that is not only offensive and unprotected but...demonstrates the officers have little to no regard for their position as police officers,” said Ross.

Seventeen officers are guilty of such violations and 13 will be suspended for 30 days “with intent to dismiss.” The other four officers, said Ross, committed “less egregious” acts and will be suspended for 30 days and do anti-bias training. Their actions included posting messages such as, “Death to Islam,” calling black people “thugs,” and memes promoting violence against transgender people.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney called the posts “deeply disturbing.”

According to NBC Philadelphia, The Plainview Project examined 3,000 Facebook posts for two years.

Representatives from The Plainview Project or its parent organization Injustice Watch, did not immediately return Yahoo Lifestyle’s interview request.

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