PVP’s Investigation Into Police Social Media Posts Further Exposes Depraved Racism Among Police

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["Speaking Truth To Empower"]
Philadelphia Police officials have a serious problem with racist officers...
Photo: Facebook screenshot

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, second from right, must punish those exposed in PVP's investigation...

The recent Plain View Project (PVP) investigation of police social media postings, which was published by Injustice Watch and BuzzFeed News, documents the barbarism and bigotry many officers have for Black Americans, and other minorities.

On their website, the Plain View Project said, “We believe that these statements could erode civilian trust and confidence in police, and we hope police departments will investigate and address them immediately.”

Politicians, especially those in Congress, and those running for the White House should be addressing this too.

PVP’s investigation illustrates the level of racism that is deeply embedded in America’s police departments. An analysis of these police postings, on social media, showcases the sadistic nature of these officers and their disregard for Black lives. These officers routinely talked about brutalizing—and killing often in the most derogatory terms.

This report makes it clear there are a lot of “bad apples” in police departments across America.

On Saturday, the Injustice Watch news website, and BuzzFeed News, published articles based on the Facebook posts of police officers. These articles were based on the works of the Plain View Project’s database of social media postings by current and former police officers. The findings show the violently racist, and dehumanizing, nature of many police officers. It also shows that these officers have no qualms at all about using violence against Blacks—even in the most benign situations.

PVP said they “used department rosters to search for Facebook pages for every officer in Phoenix; St. Louis; Philadelphia; Dallas; York, Pennsylvania; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Florida. The locations were chosen to achieve a range of geography and size.”

According to Injustice Watch, many of the officers who made these offensive posts were accused of police brutality or civil rights violations. The racist reprehensible behavior documented was not only perpetrated by rank-and-file officers. Many corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains and inspectors are among those who posted vile bigoted messages.

PVP’s data has particularly exposed the abominable conduct of Philadelphia police officers.

Injustice Watch’s analysis of PVP’s data found that “Of 328 officers in Philadelphia who posted troubling content, more than a third — 139 officers — appeared to have had one or more federal civil rights lawsuits filed against them, based on name, badge number, and other corroborating details. Of that group, a hundred ended in settlements or verdicts against them or the city.”

John Jay criminologist David Kennedy called the results “dire.”

"This is the kind of behavior that confirms the worst suspicions on the part of communities about the police," Kennedy said. He added this “fuels and cements” the belief in minority communities that “police are not to be trusted.”

The posts of these officers are very disturbing. But let’s examine some of them starting with those from Philadelphia officers.

In one entry, Philadelphia officer, Christian Fenico, posted on Facebook “should have shot him” about an attempted robber who had fled from a liquor store. A clerk in the store had pulled a gun but didn’t fire when the would-be robber retreated. Fenico has two excessive force complaints against him.

In another, Philadelphia Sgt. Mark Palma reposted a racist meme of people from the Middle East; and referred to Blacks protesting police brutality in Philadelphia as “scum.” Palma was apparently upset about was happening to Officer Ryan Pownall and Officer Kristine Gillespie-Amato. Pownall had killed David Jones in June 2017, in an act Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross characterized as “poor judgment.”

Officer Gillespie-Amato was also angry Black Philadelphians were trying to get rid of a statue of former racist Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo. On her Facebook page, Gillespie-Amato attacked Easter Flythe, who was championing the effort, as "a ghetto ass with an education…. Not." Her racist Facebook comments spurred a torrent of negative press. Around this time, Sgt. Palma warned other officers that “The Media is watching what we put on Facebook.” Within days, his Facebook postings became private.

Then there is Philadelphia Officer Robert Oakes who posted a nauseating reference to domestic sexual abuse. His post reads “Oh baby, oh baby, PLEAsE DONT!!!!! stop!!!!! resisting!!!!!” and “no means yes!!!!! They just don’t know it….” Reportedly, the City of Philadelphia paid $42,500 to settle two non-sexual assault lawsuits Officer Oakes was involved in.

Former officer Keith Ressler, from York, Pennsylvania posted on Facebook that it was “Too bad this MF didn’t resist and meet a very violent and painful demise. Would have saved the taxpayers a LOT of money.” Ressler posted this in response to the arrest of Otis McKane, who was arrested for the killing of San Antonio Det. Benjamin Marconi on November 20, 2016. Marconi’s killing came months after the July 7 killings of five officers in Dallas, Texas by Army veteran Pvt. Micah Johnson; and after the July 17 killings of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by U.S. Marine Sgt. Gavin Long.

In Chicago, after killer-cop Jason Van Dyke was convicted for the backshooting coldblooded murder of Laquan McDonald a post proclaimed “Every Thug Deserves a Slug.” This offensive post was on the Facebook page of Chicago Code Blue. Another posted reaction on Chicago Code Blue, after Van Dyke was convicted, read “Very sad...give the keys to the city to the thugs.” In another, after video emerged showing Philadelphia Officer Sofia Terrones beating up a Black woman, a Chicago officer posted “Shoot the rhino” on his Facebook page.

In Florida’s Lake County, Cpl. Robert Bedgood posted a photo with the caption “1-800-CHOKE-DAT-HOE.” Underneath this he wrote “A choke, is the new; I love you.” He stated this was his new motto.

In South Carolina, five days after White supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans inside the Emanuel AME Church, then North Charleston Police Sgt. Shannon Dildine posted a picture of himself, on Facebook, wearing Confederate flag underwear. Dildine posting also came two months after Walter Scott became the victim of backshooting former officer Michael Slager.

Other disturbing police posts include: a Dallas officer who says, “Just another savage that needs to be exterminated.” And a Phoenix officer who says, “It’s a good day for a choke hold.”

These Facebook police posts are abhorrent but not surprising. Several years ago, the San Francisco Police department faced a scandal when a slew of racist texts came to light.

In one text, an officer disparages African-American police officers saying “Those guys are pretty stupid! Ask some dumb ass questions you would expect from a Black rookie.” Another says “the buffalo soldier was why the Indians wouldn’t shoot niggers that fought for the confederate. They thought they were sacred buffalo and not human.”

In a related post, the officer writes “They were not far off Marley was a nigger.” This last reference is clearly talking about Reggae singer Bob Marley, who wrote a song named “Buffalo Soldier.” Another text says “Yeah we burn the cross on the field! Then we celebrate Whitemas.”

It should be remembered that these racist texts were sent by police officers in San Francisco—which is one of the most progressive cities in America. Does this help explain why even “progressive” Democrats stay silent while Black Americans continue to be victimized by police?

The racist vile Facebook posts that have been unmasked by the Plain View Project aren’t surprising. Institutional racism in policing is just being exposed more now because of social media—and video technology. Yet, the need to eradicate racism from American policing is not being addressed—especially, by cowardly Democrats in Congress.

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