Thirteen Philadelphia police officers have been fired for making racist or offensive Facebook posts, NBC News reports. The 13 are among 72 officers in the city who had been placed on administrative duty for sharing more than 5,000 Facebook racist posts and offensive comments.
Some of the posts were homophobic. Others advocated violence or were deemed racist, the Philadelphia Police Department said, according to NBC News.
In one post from 2014, a Philadelphia officer wrote that a suspect “should be taken out back and put down like the rabid animal he is,” according to the Plain View database. Another officer shared a racially-charged illustration of Muslims.
In a recent post from February, an officer with the city’s police department commented on a news article about an alleged black suspect writing, “hang him.”
Plain View Project said the Facebook posts and comments “could undermine public trust and confidence in our police.”
The Philadelphia Police Department conducted an internal investigation with a law firm to determine if some of the posts by its officers were constitutionally protected speech.
The department announced disciplinary actions Thursday that depended on how egregious the Facebook posts by those individual officers were.
Some of the 72 officers who had been placed on administrative duty will be suspended for five days, police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. said at a news conference Thursday.
Seventeen others will face more severe disciplinary action, including the 13 who will be fired, according to Ross. The remaining four will receive 30-day suspensions, he said.
“I continue to be very angered and disappointed by these posts,” Ross said. The 13 officers to be fired made posts that “advocated violence.”
The highest-ranking official to be fired is a sergeant, Ross told reporters. He declined to identify any of the 13 by name.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said many of the posts were “deeply disturbing.”
“We have a duty to represent ourselves and our city,” he said at the news conference. “We will not allow this incident to break down the progress we have made and we pledge to do better.”
Ross said every member of the police department will have to watch a training video about social media and policies on off-duty behavior.