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July 18, 2019

13 Philly police officers will be fired for racist, offensive social media posts

The decision comes after a months-long investigation into hundreds of cops' Facebook use

Investigations Philadelphia Police
 Philadelphia Police Car Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice Staff

A Philadelphia Police Department cruiser.

Thirteen Philadelphia police officers will be fired as a result of the Philadelphia Police Department's internal investigation of racist and offensive comments made by dozens of its police officers.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Mayor Jim Kenney announced the decision at a Thursday afternoon press conference, according to FOX29.

On top of the 13 officers who will be fired, after 30 days of suspension with "intent to dismiss," four others will serve a 30-day suspension; dozens will serve five-day suspensions for violating the police department's social media policy; and three will receive no discipline.

Earlier this year, Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White extensively researched racist and offensive posts by police officers at departments around the United States. Those results were made public on a website she helped create called the Plain View Project. 

Bake-White found that out of about 6,600 officers in the Philadelphia Police Department, 1,073 had been identified on Facebook. And of those who could be identified, one third had made troubling posts or comments, according to a Buzzfeed story from early June.

At least 72 police officers were taken off the streets by mid-June as part of the internal investigation. The comments included derogatory posts about immigrants and Muslims; perpetuation of racist stereotypes; support of right-wing extremist groups; and jokes about police brutality, FOX29 reported.

During a press conference last month, Ross condemned the racist, insensitive and derogatory Facebook comments and posts from his officer that had been revealed by The Plain View Project. "In many ways, we understand how this can tarnish or did tarnish our reputation," Ross said at the time. "But we will work tirelessly to repair that reputation, to improve police community relations, as we are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw and the rest of the nation saw."

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