St. Louis and Philadelphia police departments are investigating reports of racist, violent and anti-Muslim Facebook posts by some current and former city officers.
The Philadelphia-based The Plain View Project started examining thousands of shocking posts in 2017 from law enforcement officials in St. Louis and Philly. The group reviewed more than 5,000 posts they deemed could “undermine public trust and confidence in police,” according to the group’s website.
“We prioritized jurisdictions that are already having conversations about police community relations. And the other consideration is geographic diversity. We didn’t want only large cites … (but) something that represented what America looked like,” said Emily Baker-White, founder and executive director of the project.
The posts included images of the Confederate flag, hateful rhetoric against Muslims, criticism of immigrants who can’t speak English and promoting violence, The Daily Mail reports.
Some supported shooting criminals and expressed hate against women.
Other big cities reviewed included Dallas and jurisdictions like Lake County, Florida, CNN reports.
According to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, a sergeant named Ron Hasty, who goes by the name “Ron Nighthawk” on Facebook appears more than 30 times in negative posts outlined in the Plain View Project’s report.
Hasty spoke with the outlet and defend himself by saying: “I’m not a racist. You can talk to any of my friends.”
“We strongly condemn violence and racism in any form. The overwhelming majority of our 7-thousand officers regularly act with integrity and professionalism,” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby said in a statement.
The investigations are still underway.