The saying goes, it is just a few bad apples, but as the numbers continue to stack up, when is it time to call it for what it really is?
A recent study into eight departments revealed that 2,900 current employees and 600 retired employees used social media platforms such as Facebook to show their true colors. The posts range from showing bias, encouraging violence, scoffing at due process, or using disgraceful and degrading language. They posted memes, gifs, and videos mocking Mexicans, women, and people of color, all while celebrating the Confederate flag. One meme even showed a man wearing a kaffiyeh scarf in the crosshairs of a gun.
The Plain View Project was able to obtain the rosters for every officer in Phoenix; St. Louis; Philadelphia; Dallas; York, Pennsylvania; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Florida. Once obtained, they ran their names through a search on Facebook. Once all the information was gathered, a searchable Database was created. The Plain View Project shared its research with Injustice Watch, a Chicago-based nonprofit newsroom. Through investigating their social media account, of the 328 officers in Philadelphia who posted alarming posts, 139 officers had at least one federal civil lawsuit filed against them. Of the 139 officers, a hundred ended in settlements of verdicts against the officers or Philadelphia. The payouts that were not confidential ranged from five to six figures.
Out of the eight departments, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Phoenix had social media policies.
Injustice Watch reached out to Philadelphia Police Department about multiple posts and the department responded by opening an investigation.
According to Injustice Watch:
““We have reviewed the social media transcriptions you provided, and find many of them to be not only incongruent with our standards and policies, but also troubling on a human level,” Commissioner Richard Ross said in a statement.”
The Dallas Police Department forwarded the information to the officers superiors to review.
The Phoenix Police Department said that they have opened an inquiry into officers posts and also submitted it to the Professional Standards Bureau for review.
The St. Louis Police Department forwarded the information to their Internal Affairs department.
America’s Police Problem has pulled a few of the thousands of screenshots and posted them below, but you can search the database and narrow it down by department, officer, pay, and keywords.
This is not the first time this year that officers across the nation were exposed for their social media activity. In April, America’s Police Problem was able to monitor and expose dozens of correctional officers for making online posts about feeling cute while abusing inmates.
Also in April, a searchable database of over 85,000 officers that were investigated for misconduct was released.
In 2018, a report was released stating that 116 Milwaukee officers were barred from being a witness as their they part-took in questionable acts or were accused of questionable acts.
With more and more research done and databases created, when will the issue be addressed as a national issue and not just a few bad apples? Should there be a third party monitoring officers activities? Hopefully, as more information becomes public record and public knowledge, we will see improvements.