72 Philadelphia cops are off the streets because of racist and hateful Facebook messages



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Earlier this month, Philadelphia police began an investigation into a public database of official social media posts that included Confederate images, anti-Muslim sentiments, violent rhetoric and racist comments.

As the investigation is under way, the police have been withdrawn from the street service, but are still reporting to work.

An independent law firm will assist in the ongoing investigation, Ross told a news conference. The department plans to review each post to see if the speech is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment, he added.

"If the speech is determined to be protected, no further action will be taken," Ross said. "An example would be an opinion on a public interest issue that may be unpopular … but does not include threats of violence or pejorative language against any protected class."

In addition, the Philadelphia Police Department will consult the Anti-Defamation League and review its social media policies. The department intends to provide an update on disciplinary action over the next two weeks.

Ross said these posts are "disturbing, disappointing and disturbing."

"They will undoubtedly impact the police relations of the community … there is no doubt that this puts us in the position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups with which we struggle to work, even those we have great dealings with, "Ross said.

"Our officers are entitled to due process like any other citizen," said John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Philharmonic Order of the Philadelphia Police. "We will support and represent these police officers during this overly broad investigation of social media."

"Many officers were taken off the street during a period of increased violence in our city," the statement said.

The posts were compiled by The Plain View Project, which describes itself as a "database of public posts on Facebook and comments made by current and former police officers from various jurisdictions in the United States." The group scoured thousands of official messages in eight jurisdictions in the United States.

Some of the accounts have been deleted since then, but the Simple View Project provided screenshots of the posts. Since 2017, the group has compiled more than 5,000 posts from current and former officers, both in large cities and in Dallas and in smaller jurisdictions such as Lake County, Florida.

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