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September 29, 2016

Internal Affairs inquiry continues into Philly officer's apparent Nazi tattoo

Police Internal Affairs
Ian_Hans_Lichterman_Philly_Police_09292016 Source/Evan Parish Matthews via Facebook

An Internal Affairs investigation found that Philadelphia police Officer Ian Lichterman did not violate department policy by having an apparent Nazi tattoo on his left arm.

An Internal Affairs investigation involving a Philadelphia police officer with an apparent Nazi tattoo continues one month after photos displaying the tattoo spread across social media.

Asked for an update on the inquiry into Officer Ian Hans Lichterman, a police spokesperson said Wednesday there is no anticipated timetable for its conclusion.

Likewise, the department is still considering a policy regarding tattoos, but police said there is no timetable for one to be adopted.

Photos of Lichterman showed a German eagle tattooed on his left arm beneath the word "Fatherland." The eagle appeared similar to one featured in the Nazi Party's partieadler emblem, which depicts an eagle, with outstretched wings, holding a wreath containing a swastika. Based on the photos, it was not clear whether the tattoo also included the enwreathed swastika.

Lichterman is an officer in the 2nd police district in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia.

The photos were posted to Facebook by Evan Parish Matthews, who claimed he took them during a Black Lives Matter demonstration held during the Democratic National Convention. His post, seen below, was shared more than 8,000 times.

The ensuing outrage prompted police brass to launch an Internal Affairs investigation and consider adopting a tattoo policy.

Mayor Jim Kenney also issued a statement, calling the imagery displayed in the photos as "disturbing" and "incredibly offensive." But John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, defended Lichterman, telling Dom Giordano of Talk Radio 1210 WPHT that the tattoo is a symbol of the German-American Police Association.

Many — but not all — police departments have tattoo policies. For instance, the Pennsylvania State Police forbids applicants to have any tattoos visible when wearing the summer uniform.

McNesby told Giordano that he anticipated having conversations with police officials regarding a potential tattoo policy. He did not respond to messages Wednesday seeking an update on those conversations and the Internal Affairs investigation.