72 Philadelphia Officers Put On Administrative Leave For Social Media Posts

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was putting 72 officers and officials on administrative leave.

Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced on Wednesday that he was placing 72 police officers on administrative leave while they continued to investigate social media posts the department considered inappropriate.

The announcement came several weeks after the Plain View Project (PVP) launched a database that included more than 5,000 Facebook posts made by identified members of law enforcement all across the country, WCAU reported.

The group claimed at their June 1 launch that they had put more than 300 Philadelphia officers into the database for making racist or insensitive social media posts.

The city hired a local law firm to investigate PVP’s claims and review the posts that were placed in the database, WCAU reported.

PVP is a research enterprise launched by Injustice Watch to identify thousands of Facebook posts made by police officers nationwide that might offend somebody.

Injustice Watch is a non-profit organization that considers itself the legacy of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law and Northwestern University’s Medill Watchdog program, according to its website.

Its mission statement said the organization is made up of a team of “highly accomplished investigative reporters, full-time reporting fellows, and talented interns” and claims to combine “data journalism with conventional reporting to delve far deeper into crucial criminal and social justice issues than can traditional news organizations.”

Since its launch in the fall of 2017, PVP has been scouring the Internet for any hint of offense in any post or comment by any user they could identify as a police officer, active duty and retired.

Then they created a database of more than 5,000 Facebook posts they felt “could undermine public trust and confidence in police," according to their website.

A quick scroll through the database made it abundantly clear that PVP’s researchers did not appreciate “cop humor” in any form.

The Philadelphia PD was one of several departments who were singled out by the PVP study, largely because their roster of officers was publicly available and therefore easy for researchers to cross-reference in identifying posts and comments made by cops.

“We’ve talked about from the outset how disturbing, how disappointing, and upsetting these posts are and how they will undeniably impact police-community relations," Commissioner Ross told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "We’re not naive to the fact and nor are we dismissive of it."

Among the flagged posts was one by a sergeant who commented that a young suspect should be "taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is," WCAU reported.

Falling into the “insensitive” category, another Philadelphia police sergeant is under investigation for posting a meme that read "Death to Islam."

The vast majority of the posts reported by the Plain View Project involved simply sharing news articles.

Others shared memes joking about violence.

The law firm hired by the city, Ballard Spahr, and the city’s law department are investigating the social media posts with the Philadelphia PD’s Internal Affairs Unit, WCAU reported.

Ballard Spahr is specifically checking to see which posts are constitutionally protected speech.

"An example would be an opinion on the matter of public concern that may be unpopular but does not include threats of violence or pejorative language against any protected class," Commissioner Ross said. "If the speech is not protected by the First Amendment, the case will proceed with appropriate discipline."

The commissioner said that when the investigation was finished, some officers could be suspended for only a few days while others might be terminated, WCAU reported.

"I'm not prepared to tell you at this point who's being disciplined and how many may be terminated, but I can tell you with a degree of certainty that there are some people who will meet with that fate," he said.

Additionally, Commissioner Ross said the police department is creating a training video that all officers will have to watch that will outline social media and off-duty policies in regards to race, ethnicity, code and conduct, WCAU reported.

"There’s no question that this puts us in a position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups that we struggle to work with or struggle to maintain good relationships with now," he said

Philadelphia PD was also developing a way to inspect officers’ social media posts for the purposes of identifying potential problems, the commissioner said.

They plan to work with the Anti-Defamation League and other outside groups that provide anti-bias and anti-racism training, WCAU reported.

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) weighed in on Commissioner Ross’s announcement and said some of his assertions were premature.

“It’s premature and irresponsible for the commissioner to tell the public that police officers will be fired without a complete investigation into officers’ social media use,” FOP President John McNesby said. "Our officers are entitled to due process just like any other citizen."

FOP members have "rights under the contract and free-speech” and McNesby said the union’s attorneys were working to make sure their members were protected, according to WCAU.

"We will support and represent those officers during this overly-broad social-media investigation," he said. "Far too many officers have been taken off the street during a time of increased violence in our city."

But a Philadelphia minister had said that he though the problem was actually bigger than what the police department has so far acknowledged.

"Over 300 people, that is an incredible number," said the Reverend Mark Tyler of Mother Bethel AME Church. "You have to imagine that there are a considerable number of people who are like them, who hold the same beliefs who are just not crazy enough to put it on social media. This is a cultural problem within our department that has to be addressed.”

Comments (205)
No. 1-32
Mig Alley
Mig Alley

If anyone is or was thinking about a career with this law enforcement organization, this should help in the decision making process. If you're on FB, drop it like a hot rock!!!

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

remember, it's not if anything you post is offensive.... it's if anything you post, share, comment on, or like can be misconstrued as offensive to anyone, especially supporters of the left, than it can be harmful to your career and employment. even if you are correct in your statements, if they get offended, you can be (and others have been) disciplined for it, even if it's off duty and has nothing to do with your job.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

i see snowflakes, they don't know they are snowflakes. Snowflakes only see what they want to see. I see them all the time, they're everywhere.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

LEO's should never put anything remotely political in writing and post anywhere. Period. There must be a general realization that even your own Captains, Police Chiefs, City Council, Mayors, Governors and State Representatives all look to stay in power and keep collecting that lucrative paycheck. They will then make themselves look good by making LEO's look bad and thus by pandering and patronizing segments of society who are mindless and react well to these actions.

Keagan Thomas
Keagan Thomas

What is this, the fucking UK?!

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Just not worth it! Anything you post will be offensive to some asshat, never had FB, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media and it has served me well. And I would stay off Grider unless you want to run into LCD or Do the job right.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Only 72? That is not too bad. Philadelphia does have a very large police department after all.

Mig Alley
Mig Alley

Garbage in garbage out, right garbage allday?

Do-The-Job-Right
Do-The-Job-Right

Awesome! Don't give them Paid Vacations "Paid Adminstrative Leave" the taxpayers are getting screwed enough.

Dr Shoe
Dr Shoe

That's Pennsyltucky for ya! Nothing good has come out of Philly since Ben Franklin died!

RetAFVet
RetAFVet

I'm amazed when reading the post reference this story. Seems as if more people would agree, get rid of the bad cops. They give ALL cops a bad name. But to my "amazement" most see nothing wrong with what the officers were doing and saying. But when you lack morals and character, you get what you get.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

The protesters plow is my favorite!

Mig Alley
Mig Alley

The other BLM website is where the real facts can be found. Just ask the asshats that come here and impart them. major major eye roll. /s

beyondpissedoff
beyondpissedoff

But Louie Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and the rest of the "leaders of the peoples" can say or write anything they want and it's ok. Disgusted.

LynnSB
LynnSB

So.... Anyone in Law Enforcement has lost their Rights to Freedom of Speech ~

cspcapt
cspcapt

Wait until you retire and keep a diary

Mama1959
Mama1959

STAY OUT OF MY FACEBOOK!!!

javaguy746
javaguy746

I see the heart button and some people use it. BUT where is the FINGER button or dislike button.

BoboLU
BoboLU

You guys don't understand, when you work for a law enforcement agency you have a reputation that you have to keep up, on and off duty. You swore to serve and protect and you are a pillar of the community. Do your jobs correctly and uphold what you swore and there won't be any issues.

RPG156
RPG156

LEOs shouldn't be using their real names. And their page should be locked down so that its not viewable to anyone but friends (and certainly not friends of friends or public) FB keeps timeline posts and likes almost indefinitely. Unless you delete them, which I would recommend that you do after a year or sooner. And whatever you share, is as if you agree with it, so if you are going to share an article or post, be sure to read the entire thing, not just the headline. And yes, cops have no free speech. How is this not news?

Sivaas_
Sivaas_

Get rid of FascistBook.

Caroparks53
Caroparks53

Let me guess..demonrats are in control of city..look at charlotte nc.demonrats in power n EVERYDAY someone is shot, rapes have increased, muggers n robberies have increased murder rate is 58 so far..in 2018 it was 57 entire year..demonrats ruin every city they control

Old Hawg
Old Hawg

There was a profound line by the character Dr. Sidney Friedman, a psychiatrist assigned to study the MAS*H doctors: "You people act crazy so that you don't go insane." Cop humor, like a soldier's combat humor, is often ghoulish and seen as bizarre and cruel by those who don't understand it. It's unquestionably not politically correct and offensive to those whose "ox is being gored". For those still on the job, your social media postings are being monitored, so be very circumspect in what you post.

Trefflek
Trefflek

Who is protecting the city 🤣🤣🤣

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

I'm so sick of this bullshit!! Liberals and blacks can do or say whatever they like, no matter how nasty, untrue, harmful, violent, disgusting, criminal, hateful, and mean but a conservative has Russian dressing on their salad, it's off with their head!! Did I sum that up correctly??

SDLucas
SDLucas

Now I see why do many of y'all who comment with some pretty strong stuff do that under "handles".

trainbuff
trainbuff

I read the first two paragraphs and got sick of reading this bullshit article.

Why can't our cops catch a break? Now it's "cop humor which might offend someone?"

It's like television people, if you don't like it, change the fucking channel!

Leave my cops alone! They need to let off a little steam too! When they've dealt with the ilk the city's thrown at them all day, added to the things they see.....leave my cops alone!

I guess I'm not understanding where they're saying this undermines public confidence and trust in the police.

Can someone please tell me when in the last couple of decades people have had trust and confidence in the police? Christ they're killing them in their patrol cars, setting them up on fake calls to murder them, so actually, it should be the other way around!

People don't think. They live in a bubble protected by an officer who straps on 35 to 40 pounds of extra gear every day, kisses their family goodbye before going on shift, the family and the officer not knowing if he or she will even be coming back home alive again. Someone please tell me a more stressful job where letting off a little steam now and again wouldn't help but be a little therapeutic rather than keeping it all bottled up inside.

Cops are not saints, nor should they be. They're not Andy Taylor, and they're certainly not working in Mayberry.

It's a warzone out there, the suits that sit and polish a seat need to just keep pushing their pencils and leave the real cops alone.

Marine.001
Marine.001

Ahhhhh sue the police chief, freedom of speech. STOP giving in to these ridiculous groups. We are becoming weaker n weaker as a society. RIDICULOUS

DR226
DR226

So how many black officers social media posts have been scrutinized by PVP? This is probably another tactic of the left to divide the races before 2020. Why don't these SJW try going to the south side or west side and interview some of the outstanding citizens in Shitcago which is right in thier neighborhood.

mbfritz
mbfritz

So when are these idiot "watchdog" groups going to focus on all the horrible, nasty, threatening, violent, disrespectful social media posts written ABOUT our peace officers???!!! The double standard is shocking, regardless of the fact that officers are expected to be held to a higher standard?! No wonder too many of these heroes die young through suicide, stress related medical problems, etc! They have few outlets for their frustrations in dealing with so many absolutely terrible situations & people in our country! I believe social media posts AGAINST our officers should be considered as serious threats to our officers, even resulting in the murders of some of them! Investigate THOSE posts! Too many terrible politicians, judges & media support criminals & punish good people, like most of our LEOs. Sickening!

Fuzzycat
Fuzzycat

Stalinism alive and well. Now go to gulag.

Do-The-Job-Right
Do-The-Job-Right

Fire all 72