While police brutality cases are enraging the public, it is all the more disturbing to find police making racist and violent posts on public forums.
After the publication of a database that appears to catalog thousands of violent or bigoted posts that active-duty and former cops make on Facebook, police departments of at least five states are investigating their officers' social media feeds.
THREAD— Emily Baker-White (@ebakerwhite1) June 1, 2019
Today, my org, the #PlainViewProject, (re-)published 1000s of troubling facebook posts made by current and former police officers. These posts require a nationwide conversation about violence and prejudice in American policing.
According to The Washington Post, The Plain View Project (PVP) has since 2017 examined the public profiles of police officers from eight jurisdictions. Its findings were detailed in an investigative feature published jointly by Injustice Watch and BuzzFeed News on Saturday.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said an Internal Affairs investigation into the Plain View Project’s findings is ongoing. https://t.co/nXgoA8B1H9— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) June 1, 2019
The Plain View Project (PVP) is a searchable database created by lawyer Emily Baker-White that shows countless social media posts made by thousands of police officers around the country.
The most exciting work on police accountability/transparency is coming from outside the academy. Can we roll call these efforts? Starting with most recent:— Nikki Jones (@socprofjones) June 1, 2019
Plain View Project: https://t.co/Zzqq4UFKA7
USA Today: https://t.co/vQJDgrEf49
Police Scorecard: https://t.co/dk4MwSbeMx
It took Baker-White 18 months to create the database of 5,000 posts and comments made by police officers through verified accounts. About 2,800 of the officers, some of them high-ranking, are still on the job.
The posts appear to endorse violence, racism, and bigotry. The Post also mentions that the project found thousands of Facebook posts and comments that ran the gamut from racist memes and conspiracy theories to bombastic expressions of violence.
Moreover, several were seen expressing the desire to taser civilians and some of them even wanted to use deadly force on suspects. These are all actions that have brought law enforcement in the United States under criticism and scrutiny - while off late, people have just been protesting deaths of unarmed black individuals.
In a post, York City Police Officer Galen Detweilerreportedly wrote on May 22, 2014: “Bucket list: Punch a guy so hard he poops himself....” The status update included a check mark at the end.
Our latest project co-published with @BuzzFeedNews, thousands of troubling posts by current and former law enforcement officers.— Injustice Watch (@injusticewatch) June 1, 2019
"Cops Around The Country Are Posting Racist And Violent Comments On Facebook"
Click here 👇:https://t.co/hEbHVjhpBa pic.twitter.com/yu1CalHJxQ
While in 2015 this is what a post shared by a captain in the Philadelphia Police Department read: “Instead of hands up don’t shoot, how about pull your pants up don’t loot!” read a meme that depicted the late African American singer Sammy Davis Jr. in an apparent dig at the Black Lives Matter movement.
In another Facebook post by a former officer from York, Pa. read: “Too bad this MF didn’t resist and meet a very violent and painful demise. Would have saved the taxpayers a LOT of money,” The officer shared the news of a black man’s arrest in the killing of a police detective.
Carver’s post is one of more than 5,000 publicly available Facebook posts created and shared by current and former law enforcement officers in eight cities across the country, compiled by the Plain View Project.— Injustice Watch (@injusticewatch) June 1, 2019
That database can be found here 👉: https://t.co/TeX0riwpjM
There are thousands more of such nature that The Plain View Project (PVP) database showed. Several departments whose officers were scrutinized by the project have announced that they will do just that.
Amazing to me that this comment from the police chief is causing such a commotion but these same Dallas media outlets have so far failed to report on racist social media posts documented from current and former DPD officers by the Plain View Project: https://t.co/q6Vdfklimx https://t.co/8egyD3LCzD— Grits4Breakfast (@Grits4Breakfast) June 5, 2019
“We believe that these statements could erode civilian trust and confidence in police,” PVP’s website states, “and we hope police departments will investigate and address them immediately.”
#PlainViewProject was recently covered by the @nytimes! We present these posts & comments bc we believe they could undermine public trust & confidence in our police. Fairness, equal treatment, and integrity are essential to the legitimacy of policing (1/2)https://t.co/NISxCmouOz— Candice coll (@CandiceColl) June 4, 2019
Baker-White started the project after participating in a fellowship where she was assigned to write and investigate police brutality in Philadelphia. Eight departments were honed in on and include some bigger populated areas like Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix and St. Louis.
A new databased called the #PlainViewProject chronicling police officers' public social media posts found that 1 in 5 shared racist, sexist, or otherwise biased comments that "undermined the concept of due process." We look at #solutions: https://t.co/j72453ov4w @outsidemagazine pic.twitter.com/yTxLV4F3Sy— SolutionsU (@TeamSolutionsU) June 4, 2019
“I stumbled upon the public profiles of several officers in that neighbourhood, and I was stunned. I thought, “Oh my God, how can this information be public — why are these guys saying this stuff to the world?” Baker-White said.
In Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported that 15 of the city’s high-ranking officers are in the database because of racist, misogynist, Islamophobic and pro-violence posts.