Philadelphia PD Fires 13 Officers For Offending People On Social Media

Philadelphia Police Chief Richard Ross announced that 13 police officers would be fired for offensive Facebook posts.

Philadelphia, PA – The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) announced Thursday that it was firing 13 police officers who posted offensive comments on Facebook.

Philadelphia Police Chief Richard Ross stood beside Mayor Jim Kenney at a press conference on July 18 and announced the largest number of officers terminated at one time in recent history, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The unmitigated chaos began after the Plain View Project, in conjunction with social watchdog group Injustice Watch, 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.

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.

On June 19, Chief Ross announced that of the 328 officers reviewed for posting problematic content, he had placed 72 on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.

“An Internal Affairs investigation was immediately initiated,” the chief explained at the press conference on Thursday. “Internal Affairs identified and prioritized those posts which clearly advocated violence or death against any protected class, such as ethnicity, national origin, sex religion, and race, or any speech advocating for supporting crimes affecting the integrity, honesty, and or trustworthiness of the police department.”

Then the police department hired an outside law firm to help them.

“As the Internal Affairs investigation proceeded, the law department contracted with the law firm Ballard Spahr to review each of the posts to determine if the posts were constitutionally protected,” Chief Ross told reporters.

Then he spelled out the step-by-step process the department has followed and explained the range of discipline that would be meted out based on the gravity of the officers' offenses.

Chief Ross said that 56 of the 72 officers who were investigated would face discipline ranging from a reprimand to a 30-day unpaid suspension, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The chief told reporters that many of the officers would receive discipline consistent with a violation of the established social media policy, meaning as little as a reprimand up to a five-day unpaid suspension.

He said a group of 17 officers posted material that was “not only offensive and unprotected”… but which “demonstrates the officers have little or no regard for their positions as police officers.”

Chief Ross said 13 of the 17 would be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, meaning their employment would be terminated.

He said the remaining four would receive a 30-day unpaid suspension.

According to the chief, the officers who are being terminated had all posted material condoning violence, encouraging police brutality, or promoting memes or other content that was considered anti-Islamic, homophobic, or racist, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“I continue to be very angered and disappointed by these posts, many of which, in my view, violate the basic tenets of human decency,” the chief told reporters.

Chief Ross said the PPD needed to “move past this ridiculous hate that just consumes this country and has done so for centuries.”

He said the police department was starting a series of anti-bias and anti-racism training sessions in consultation with the Anti-Defamation League.

The chief said they were revamping PPD’s social media policy and would be reviewing policies from other police departments and military branches to help craft the new policy.

The department will also be taking steps to ensure that they’re monitoring their officers’ social media activity in the future.

“PPD will purchase or develop a pro-active mechanism to audit officer-related social media to identify potential problems with officer postings, i.e. data mining software. The police department will contract an outside expert to conduct anti-bias and anti-racist training for all sworn personnel,” Chief Ross explained.

The chief said that what some officers had posted hurt not only the Philadelphia police, but the law enforcement community in general.

“That is disheartening in 2019 to know that we still have people who have these views,” he said. “That not only have these views, but that would take to social media, in a very public place, to expound on such views in a way that is absolutely sickening. I understand the dismay that the public would have because we have it as well.”

Comments (68)
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Done-did
Done-did

Screw this Chief...….he is a POS

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

I am currently in Facebook jail for calling a member of ANTIFA a F****t (homophobic). The Islamic extremists are proven terrorists and that mob of 60 black teens that destroyed and terrorized a Walgreens is right there in PA! Thank God this site hasn't put a muzzle on free speech, of a conservative nature. Also, it's good the cops here can vent anonymously. I would bet all the cops are white and that Chief is a black racist. He is also stirring up racial tension in an area already reeling from that mob riot of blacks at Walgreens.

Grampsdeal
Grampsdeal

Spineless police chief...yes, purposefully, un-capitalized. He doesn't deserve it.

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Poor excuse for a Chief. I’m sure he is straighter than an arrow and has never said anything like that in his life.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

It will end up in court as a first amendment case and it will be tied up for years.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Of course the cowardly chief decided to fire some officers. I knew that was going to happen when this story first became news. He, like almost every chief in this country, is more concerned how he is viewed by a very small segment of society (i.e. blacks) than standing up for his officers. And I can guarantee you that the chief, at some point, made off colored jokes during his rise in the ranks. All cops do, regardless of color. Unfortunately, times have changed thanks to the advent of social media. If you're still working, stay off of all social media sites if you value your job.

Mama1959
Mama1959

I'm so tired of all these pussies getting their panties in a wad.

DeborahO
DeborahO

I can see updating the department's social media policy. But this Chief just caved in to a cop hating, crap stirring group who who love to limit free speech from any pilice officer. Termination is way too harsh. I hope these officers have a Union or some other group to represent them. That "Chief" will be long gone before the lawsuits are settled. I hope these officers will get their jobs back or find better employment and higher pay. God bless them and their families.

Officer Cynical
Officer Cynical

No news here. A police chief who wants nothing more than to be a politician rather than look out for his own people. I served under two of them.

MajScallywag
MajScallywag

The First Amendment has officially been cancelled in Philadelphia by the police chief. I hope that every one of those officers sue the city and the police department for denial of their First Amendment rights. Alternately, the majority of the department finds jobs elsewhere and leaves. Give that city the anarchy they want.

beyondpissedoff
beyondpissedoff

I wonder how much all this "investigating" cost the taxpayers, the majority of which would never view any of these "offensive" messages. All because they were using their first amendment right to call a spade a spade. SMH

trainbuff
trainbuff

This is just bullshit! What happened to a cop's off duty right to their 1st amendment?

Please tell me again little Johnny why you want to be a policeman when you grow up?

Know at least the public knows the real reason why cops wear kevlar. It's to protect the rank and file from management and the whiny ass public.

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

SUE THEIR ASS FOR VIOLATING THE OFFICERS' RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. IF the fucking cunts-of-color in Congress say shit about everyone and anyone, we need to allow all government employees the same RIGHT!

domina
domina

This is sooooo sad!

snafu
snafu

Part of taking your oath means to protect The Constitution. It appears that it also means you give away your rights granted by that same Constitution.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

They have the right to speak, but there is no Constitutional right to be a policeman.

Storm45
Storm45

Ever notice that when any minority member is affirmative actioned into a position of power that they become smug, self-righteous, and advance all of their cry baby oppression and victimhood claims under color of law. They are also quick to limit basic liberties. Aristotle pointed out that most people are incapable of living responsibly under freedom. We have been dealing with this since America was founded.

bob95648
bob95648

Citizens elect the Mayor, who hires the Chief, who promotes and hires the Officers that lead the Department... After all is said and done the city gets the kind of Police Department it wants. In the case of Philadelphia that appears to be working. If God doesn't strike Philadelphia and a long list of other American Cities down, he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

Good luck getting new recruits.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Recruiting is already difficult because of all the hate toward the police. Sad.

No. 26-43
ForestRon
ForestRon

So much for the first Amendment right. I hope they all appeal and stuff it back into Chief Ross's face. What you do and say off-duty, as long as it's not against the law, should be your own business. What is next on the list to screw with law enforcement? Sure glad I was able to get my career in when it was still fun...

BlueMooseCode4
BlueMooseCode4

So you took almost 25% of your force off the street because some fringe extreme left wing group was offended by some posts? Brilliant as usual when it comes to the upper brass who only want to keep their jobs and fold to any social media threats. Way to support your troops PPD.

Miss Renee
Miss Renee

When is the Civil War going to start to rid the socialist liberals & their Illegal pets?

Buffrat
Buffrat

If the Chief runs the department, and sets the tone, regulations, and procedures for that department, and these officers violated them, doesn't the Chief bear responsibility? So how long will his suspension be for? Remember discipline can go up just as easy as it goes down.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

This is insane; I can't believe anyone would want to work for Philly PD after this decision by the so-called chief.

What is really sad is so many officers are referencing First Amendment rights, yet they clearly know very little about it. The First Amendment prevents you from being arrested based on your freedom of expression (with some exceptions); none of these officers were arrested. You are entitled to freedom of speech, however not freedom of the consequences of unpopular speech, especially if that speech is viewed negatively by your employer. Hopefully they are able to get their terminations appealed, and for the sake of your careers, make your social media profiles private so others can't see what you write!!!