(Pictured: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross)
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said that he is “disgusted” by the racist and violent social media posts connected to his police officers. Ross announced that 72 of the 328 officers allegedly involved have been placed on administrative duty.
“Internal Affairs has identified and prioritized the posts clearly advocating violence or death against any protected class such as ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion, and race,” Ross said, in a press conference this week at police headquarters. “These officers have been removed from the street.”
He continued, “At this point, 72 officers have been placed on administrative duty status as a result of the initial investigation. Internal Affairs has already begun to investigate each of these officers identified.”
Ross said the law department has contracted with a law firm “to review each post to determine if the speech is constitutionally protected.”
The investigation comes a few weeks after the Plain View Project released thousands of abhorrent Facebook posts from police officers throughout the country.
“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 in many cases, the rest of the nation saw, not just people in Philadelphia,” Ross said.
In regard to discipline, he said that termination “is probably something that’s going to certainly happen with some of these officers.”
The Rally for Justice coalition, which is comprised of civic leaders, NAACP members, the Black clergy, and other activists, held a protest in Philadelphia on Thursday. The group wants more action to be taken in regard to the total number of officers connected to the scandal.
Among the Facebook posts or comments in the database, 15 were made by high-ranking members of the police department — a police inspector, six captains, and eight lieutenants, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In August 2015, George Mullen, a captain, shared the following post:
It’s Not Just in Philly
In addition to the Philadelphia police department, the Plain View Project database also includes posts by officers in Dallas, Texas, St. Louis, Mo., Phoenix, Ariz., York, Pa., Twin Falls, Idaho and Denison, Texas.
City of Denison manager Jud Rex said on Thursday that one officer is no longer employed by the department, one was issued a written reprimand, and two others were “appropriately counseled.”
“The City of Denison takes allegations of racism, hate, and violence extremely seriously, whether they are expressed directly or indirectly through action or word, and such conduct does not reflect the standard to which we hold our employees,” Rex said in a press statement. “There is absolutely no room in Denison for such things.”