Racist Or Hateful Facebook Posts By 94 Philly And St. Louis Police Officers ‘Compromise The Entire Criminal Justice System’

Written by Ann Brown
St. Louis
Photo by: GS-09 / Roland Balik

Police departments in Philadelphia and St. Louis are in hot water for racists public posts put on social media by several of their policemen.

“In Philadelphia, 72 officers were taken off the streets and placed on administrative duty, and in St. Louis, 22 officers have been barred from bringing their cases to the Circuit Attorney’s Office,” CNN reported.

The Plain View Project, which says it is a “database of public Facebook posts and comments made by current and former police officers from several jurisdictions across the United States,” uncovered the offensive posts.

As a result St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner put the 22 officers on her office’s exclusion list this week, she said in a press statement.

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“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. “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.”

In Philadelphia, the police began an investigation into a public database of social media posts by its officers that included such incendiary things as Confederate imagery, anti-Muslim comments, violent rhetoric and racist sayings. While the investigation is going on, the officers have been taken off of street duty.

According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, the posts are “disturbing, disappointing and upsetting.”

“They will undeniably impact police community relations … there’s no question that this puts us in the position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups that we struggle to work with, even those that we have great relationships with,” Ross said.

Here’s how it all was uncovered. The Plain View Project examined thousands of posts from officers in eight jurisdictions in the United States, something it’s been doing since 2017. In all, the group has collected more than 5,000 posts from 3,500 Facebook accounts of current and former officers in eight departments, located in large cities such as Dallas as well as smaller jurisdictions like Lake County, Florida. The group’s database surveyed more than 5,000 Facebook posts.

Business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, Jeff Roorda, said things are being blown out of proportion and that Gardner’s statements are “nothing more than a grand distraction.”

“The city adopted a social media policy in September 2018 and all these posts predate that,” Roorda told NBC News