Philadelphia, PA – A Philadelphia police detective is under internal investigation after he left a scathing note for an unnamed colleague who left rib bones in a garbage in the department’s homicide unit.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he was “perplexed” by the “obvious biases” expressed in the letter, which was found taped above the wastebasket on Monday, WTXF reported.
“It is very troubling to us. It has been circulated, undoubtedly, around the department and is of significant concern to me,” Commissioner Ross said.
“I had to read it a couple times to say, ‘wow.’ I mean, ‘wow’ was my first response,” he added.
The note was penned by a 22-year veteran of the force, who has been removed from the street while the investigation is being conducted, KYW reported.
The department has not released his name.
“When approached, he said he wrote it,” Commissioner Ross confirmed.
No specific recipient was named in the letter.
In the note, the detective explained that he noticed a “distinct odor of beef” while he was working in the station, and that he subsequently “determined the culprit to be the rotting flesh” of rib bones left in the shared garbage can.
“Now, in that I have a sense of etiquette and social fluency instilled in me from my upbringing by traditional, caring parents, I am offended by this,” the letter read. “Alas, that same education prevents me from being upset with you – you can’t blame a filthy savage for being a filthy savage.”
The detective then noted that he believed the officer who left the bones in the garbage did not have as fortunate of an upbringing.
“As I’m sure you were not burdened by significant schooling, and were birthed to an alcoholic, absent father and a rancid whore of a mother, you simply are ignorant of the fact you are little more than an upright animal,” the letter read.
The detective acknowledged that, although the workplace conditions were not “glamorous or accommodating,” those who worked in the office had a responsibility for making the space “tolerable to be inhabited by decent, civilized human beings.”
“I am not in any manner trying to embarrass you, just the opposite,” he wrote. “I’m here to offer my guidance and assistance in helping you make the difficult transition from a grotesque, primal animal to tolerable coworker.”
He then condescendingly offered to provide additional guidance upon request.
“Please seek me out for help, in confidence of course,” the detective wrote. “You don’t have to live as the deplorable thing you are.”
When the letter was discovered by other members of the homicide unit, some made copies and placed them in other coworkers’ mailboxes out of concern about the content of the message, WTXF reported.
Commissioner Ross said the language and tone of the letter were particularly concerning because they appeared to indicate a racial bias.
“It's because of some of the language that is in here some of which historically has reference to African Americans in particular – that's why it's deeply concerning,'' he noted, according to WCAU.
Although the detective has had a “virtually clean jacket” during his time on the force, he could face discipline up to and including dismissal, the commissioner said, according to WTXF.
“We have an obligation to make sure we investigate this in the proper way and we cover all the steps,” Commissioner Ross said.