PHILADELPHIA - An investigation published by Buzzfeed News today reveals that hundreds of officers in the Philadelphia Police Department have used Facebook as a platform for celebrating police violence and demeaning people in the communities where they work, especially people of color.
The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, in response:
“We are disturbed by the news that a large number of Philadelphia police officers are so brazen in expressing their racism and disdain for the public that they post those thoughts online for everyone to see. To be sure, this is a crisis for policing in Philadelphia.
“People of color already have legitimate reasons for lacking trust in law enforcement, as our ongoing litigation over stop-and-frisk practices has proved time and again. The behavior exposed by this report provides even more evidence for why that distrust is warranted. Hundreds of police officers in Philadelphia openly express hostility and antipathy toward the people they serve. And the report only exposes those officers who did not hide their views behind a privacy wall. How many more officers say the same thing under the cloak of stronger privacy settings?
“The culture of policing in Philadelphia has to change. And it won’t change until the mayor and the commissioner hold officers accountable. If the people of Philadelphia cannot trust these officers, then those officers cannot do the job they’ve been sworn to do. This report covers a range of conduct, but those officers who are clearly responsible for publicly celebrating racism or violence by police should not be allowed to continue serving the public.”