Police Union Responds To Outing Of Officers' Bigoted Social Media Posts By Offering To Erase Officers' Online Presences

from the getting-the-fix-in dept

An investigation called the “Plain View Project” has uncovered a truly disturbing amount of bigoted, violent social media posts by police officers located all over the United States. The entire database of posts is located here. Anyone wanting to see what their public servants truly think about the people they serve can click through and be horrified.

It would be horrifying enough if officers just kept their thoughts to themselves and let those thoughts guide their actions. But these are public posts able to be viewed by anyone and these officers apparently had no qualms about displaying the content of their character. This is just a small sampling:

“Just another savage that needs to be exterminated,” wrote Booker Smith Jr., a Dallas police sergeant, about a homicide at a Dollar General store. “Execute all involved,” he wrote separately about a group of teens who were accused of killing a 6-year-old. (One defendant pleaded guilty to aiding in the kidnapping. The alleged shooter and another defendant’s trials are scheduled for later this year.)

Reuben Carver III, a Phoenix officer, proclaimed in a stand-alone post, “Its a good day for a choke hold.”

And in St. Louis, Officer Thomas Mabrey shared a false news report that distorted an incident in which a woman police officer was shot responding to a call from a Moroccan man in Lebanon, Ohio. “F these muslem turd goat humpers,” he wrote, one of numerous anti-Muslim posts.

Lovely. That’s the mindset of far too many cops. The people they interact with daily are viewed as subhuman garbage only worthy of a beating or a bullet. The good news is that since the publication of this database, the hammer is starting to fall.

A whopping 21 Dallas police officers are under investigation for “racist or violent” Facebook posts, which were uncovered by the Plainview Project. Four others have been placed on administrative leave, the Dallas police chief announced Friday.

Things have gone even further in Philadelphia, where officers are actually losing their jobs over their Facebook posts.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced Thursday that 13 officers will be terminated over violent or discriminatory Facebook posts.

The announcement comes after an internal review of a database detailing thousands of social media posts made by police, some of which contained homophobic comments, anti-Muslim slurs or calls to violence.

And you can kiss your “just a few bad apples” notions goodbye.

Seventy-two officers were already removed from street duty over their posts.

These are all rational responses to the public outing of law enforcement officers as not-so-closeted bigots and homophobes. Then there are the clearly irrational responses, emanating almost exclusively from police unions.

In Philadelphia, the Fraternal Order of Police has expressed its “disappointment” that the PD would actually punish officers for their hate-filled social media posts. Of course, unions like this also express their disappointment when cops are punished for literally any act, including unjustifiable homicide.

But the prize for most idiotic response (so far!) goes to the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. PLEA doesn’t seem to believe the bigoted posts by police officers are problematic. No, the real issue here — according to PLEA — is that the posts were seen by outside eyes. PLEA doesn’t want better officers. It only wants less accountable officers.

After dozens of Phoenix police officers were caught posting racist memes and praising violence on Facebook, Phoenix police union president Michael London said the union plans on purchasing a service that will “scrub” police officers’ information from the Internet.

“The Facebook investigation is still going on,” London said Thursday in a video shared on the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association’s Facebook page. “We had our monthly board meeting this past Tuesday, and Franklin Marino has contacted a service that will scrub your name from the internet. It’s more of a security and privacy type thing. There’s some more information about it on the members-only Facebook.”

“We think right now with the numbers we have, it would cost you about $3 a month, but we’re still trying to contact the provider of this and see if we can work out a deal,” London said.

That’s the solution. Just pay and make it all go away. The union head is so secure in his delusion he actually claimed this wasn’t about making stuff vanish, but rather to “protect” officers from people attacking them online. Yep, it’s the bigoted cops who are the real victims here.

Speech has consequences. The police union is trying to exempt Phoenix police officers from this rule. It won’t work. The internet is forever. But it will give Phoenix residents even more reasons to distrust their public servants.

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Comments on “Police Union Responds To Outing Of Officers' Bigoted Social Media Posts By Offering To Erase Officers' Online Presences”

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49 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'Get out of jail'-free cards do exist, just in badge form

Sadly it would be the ultimate in uphill battles, as most judges and politicians promptly remove their spines any time someone with a badge enters the room, and will turn into professional contortionists in order to excuse any action, so long as the one doing it carries a badge.

OGquaker says:

Beat-downs will continue until ROI improves

When a teenager, the only excuse we could think of was that the LAPD recruited from the pissed-off lower white classes, our class. Older now, we know that Los Angeles (an incorporated city) hires rent-a-cops (LAPD) to protect the corporate assets from us vermin that live in the assets.
P.S. after decades of ‘Gang Injunctions’ against ANY 2 or 3 of my neighbors congregating (Gang is a check-box on the police report) The sixth home since January in this block of fabulous single-family houses was scraped off this week, under Trumps 10 year zero-tax ‘Opportunity Zone’ IRS plan.

That One Guy (profile) says:

...Seriously though, could you TRY to be less blatantly corrupt?

Speech has consequences. The police union is trying to exempt Phoenix police officers from this rule. It won’t work. The internet is forever. But it will give Phoenix residents even more reasons to distrust their public servants.

When given the choice between ‘not acting like an asshole’ and ‘paying someone to hide the evidence of you acting like an asshole’, the fact that they are apparently going with choice #2 is very telling about the union and how they view the scum they represent.

Not acting like a bigoted ass is easy if you see that as a problem and strive to correct it, but by instead going down the road of attempting to brush it under the rug they make crystal clear that they see nothing wrong with such behavior beyond the fact that the public might be able to see just how disgusting they are.

Annonymouse (profile) says:

Re: unfortunately

Stressful… Active duty military and firefighters and pilots THEN LEOs
Hazardous… Agricultural and truck drivers and steel and garbage and roofing then firefighters and pilots
Cops nowhere near the top 10
Thankless,…Farmer and teacher and social worker and military and irs and garbage
Again nowhere near the top 10

Anonymous Coward says:

One rule for school kids, another rule for police...

So, when numerous police forces, including the FBI, decided that any mention of guns, drugs, or even just a bit of anger on Facebook/Twitter/other social media platform by teenagers is enough to destroy said individuals chances of education (mostly due to automated systems that can’t determine "i’m gonna blow off this assignment" as not a threat to attack their school), what did they think was going to happen when their own officers engaging in far worse behaviour?

Of course, they’re just "blowing off steam", completely different from when young, inexperienced individuals crack wise about things well and truely in the zeitgeist (such as drugs, guns, threats, or even jokes)

Ed (profile) says:

Maybe victims of cops should now sue the police unions instead of the cities. Drain the unions of every cent they have, put them out of business. The police unions have proven time and again they’re nothing but a mafia-like racket. If the DAs weren’t complicit, they’d likely be able to advance RICO charges against most police unions, I would wager.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are you sure it’s not RICO:

To win, a plaintiff would have to prove (1) conduct, (2) of an enterprise, (3) through a pattern, (4) of racketeering activity called "predicate acts," (5) causing injury to the plaintiff’s "business or property."

There’s plenty of conduct. I believe the police count as an enterprise. There is definitely a pattern. Shaking down people for money is likely a predicate act, although since it’s technically legal when police do it, you might fall down here. And 5 is a no brainer.

In fact, I’m having trouble seeing the difference between many police forces and organized crime.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s an excellent article and well worth reading, but it’s about civil RICO suits. Since Ed was referring to DAs advancing RICO charges, that means he was talking about criminal RICO, not civil RICO.

I don’t think Ken White has ever accused police unions of RICO violations, but he does take a pretty dim view of them:

Don’t Give Special Rights To Anybody! Oh, Except Cops. That’s Cool.

The Thin Blue Line of Entitlement

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

With state power comes responsibilities – it isn’t unreasonable to apply limitations to them especially when it is relevant to their job. When a defendant can rightfully point out "jokes" about who they are that show a clear pattern of prejudice it creates doubt to the validity undermining the case regardless of actual guilt.

Trump has already run afoul of this numerous times by running his mouth and showing the intent of what would otherwise be technically within his powers was for an unconstitutional purpose and thus blocked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They are free to say whatever they like. But there are consequences to speech and actions, sometimes, even for cops. When you basically state that you cannot possibly do your job properly because your opinions get in the way, you might be fired.
(Only if you were too public and someone needs example cases to show how they are doing something. Keep you mouth shut and just murder people, though, and you’ll probably be fine.)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In general…..I like to practice what I preach. I can’t expect officers to defend my freedom of speech if we don’t defend theirs.

‘Free speech’ is not shorthand for ‘consequence-free speech’. They can be racist and/or assholes all they want, but that doesn’t mean they should get a pass on doing so, especially when they’re in a job paid for by the public, that involves regular interactions with said public, and one given immense leeway by the courts.

Anonymous Coward says:

A similar "ChatGate" happened in Puerto Rico, on a bigger scale

A rather insignificant story compared to the very similar social media leak involving the governor of Puerto Rico and other top government officials, the publication of which lead to huge street protests that has literally toppled the government of Puerto Rico.

Techdirt-hating conspiracy theorists might claim that Techdirt’s lack of interest in that much more explosive story is because Governor Ricardo Rosselló is a HRC and BHO butt-kissing Democrat, but maybe there are other reasons for Techdirt’s apparent silence, all while the cherry-picked bad-cop narrative continually gets flogged to death.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/ricardo-rossello-confirmed-puerto-ricans-suspicions/594616/

the Center for Investigative Reporting published 900 pages of leaked chat conversations that revealed two things: how obsessed the participants were with manipulating public opinion online through troll farms, paid shills, and other techniques; and how much contempt they shared not only for political opponents but also for their own supporters, whom they portrayed as basically stupid. This sequence of events painted a picture of a political elite that carefully tended to its own needs while treating most island residents as irritants or afterthoughts. Puerto Rico’s political culture evolved

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

A few days or a few weeks? Maybe "slow news" means waiting for the whole thing to finally come to an end with the expected collapse of the Rossello government and the beginning of a whole new chapter.

It’s already been two weeks since the ‘Rico-Gate story broke, and there’s been plenty of day by day action, but right now with the governor on the cusp of resigning in the face of imminent impeachment, any article that gets written up right now about this torrid affair might be due for a major revision before it gets published.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Techdirt's feed pace

Some things on Techdirt don’t come on general news feeds until way, later, usually after something explodes or there’s a major data leak. Remember when we reported on whitehats getting sued by [Bank of America], yeah about that…

On other things, it comes across TD one to three days after the regular cycle.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes, but see your job probably doesn’t involve being armed by default, regular interactions with the public, and where you are given immense leeway by the courts and legal system, which is why you need to be held to higher standards that the poor, put-upon police.

I mean, how utterly insane and unfair would it be to hold police to the same standards the overwhelming majority of other people are held to, rather than ones low enough you need industrial digging equipment to reach(assuming said standards exist at all)?

Bad enough they have to deal with what often amounts to legal immunity for anything they do, immense and often unchecked power, and a legal system that will look the other way when it’s not cheering them on without burdening them with standards and expectations that young children could be expected to understand.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

“Just another savage that needs to be exterminated,” wrote Booker Smith Jr., a Dallas police sergeant, about a homicide at a Dollar General store. “Execute all involved,” he wrote separately about a group of teens who were accused of killing a 6-year-old. (One defendant pleaded guilty to aiding in the kidnapping. The alleged shooter and another defendant’s trials are scheduled for later this year.)

I… honestly don’t see any problem with that. Anyone who goes around murdering innocent people–especially young children!–absolutely is a subhuman savage who ought to be executed. (With due process of law, of course, to make sure we got the right person, but yes, when we do make sure we got the right person, execution is what should happen to monsters like that.)

OGquaker says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m sure our rancid US Attorney General would have executed the Central Park 5 if he had been a little faster and more alert under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 249; the kids did kill outside their own ”race" /s

Like the Lindbergh ‘kidnapper’, executing your best witness would have buried the truth. Ask Anne Morrow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Semantics question

Does anyone happen to know whether PLEA should be pronounced /pli/ as in “an excuse or pretext” or, because the P is from Phoenix which uses the /f/ sound, it should be pronounced /fli/ as in “bloodsucking parasitic insects known for infestations and their ability to leap [to the wrong answer?]”?

Both are appropriate, just want to be accurate.

R,ogs/ says:

re:Speech has consequences

This is a misconception about speech, drawn directly from religious texts, specifically, theTalmud and Torah.

Iwould think any first amendment advocate would be embarassed to state it, or restate it, but not surprised to find it here, repeatedly.

In theUS, we consisently see tolerance for this form of mob mentality , which is the EXACT speech prohibition that led to lynchings of blacks, and its cousin in law, hate crimes legislation.

Both books,are the written record of myth making, manifested into reality, and US law-for SOME REASON-tolerates this type of religion-in-law.

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