(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 7/19/19) — The Philadelphia Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) expresses its support for Police Commissioner Richard Ross’ announcement that the Philadelphia Police Department will terminate more than a dozen police officers implicated in an investigation into racist and bigoted social media posts.
As previously reported, The Plain View Project published a database compiling racist, bigoted, and otherwise offensive Facebook posts from law enforcement officers across eight local jurisdictions including 3,100 posts from 328 active Philadelphia police officers, including 15 at or above the rank of lieutenant. The posts voiced desire to crash into motorists with Obama bumper stickers, calling Black Lives Matter activists “racist pieces of [expletive],” along with some anti-Islamic posts. Following these revelations, Commissioner Ross committed to investigating the matter further.
After his investigation, Commissioner Ross announced on Thursday afternoon that the Philadelphia Police Department has suspended thirteen officers with the intent to terminate, in addition to leveling 30-day suspensions for four more officers. This discipline targeted the officers who repeatedly authored or commented on posts advocating violence and hate speech targeted people based on their membership in a protected class like race, ethnicity, religion, and sex.
In a statement, CAIR-Philadelphia Civil Rights Attorney Timothy Welbeck said, “The officers who made these statements are not fit to serve and protect the citizens of Philadelphia. Their remarks are merely a public confirmation of that.” He added, “Regrettably the revelations produced by The Plain View database confirm what many have observed empirically and anecdotally — racists and bigots have infiltrated law enforcement in significant number. This is a troubling proposition. We welcome the Philadelphia Police Department’s definitive action and encourage other swift and firm action for those who engage in this abhorrent behavior.”
Jacob Bender, Executive Director for CAIR-Philadelphia, stated, “While CAIR, as a civil rights organization, respects and honors the right of free speech — even vile speech — we believe that the practitioners of such racist and hate-filled speech, as found in the social media posts of over 300 Philadelphia police officers, have disqualified themselves from being in a position to protect and serve all the people of this great and diverse metropolis.”
CAIR-Philadelphia Government Relations Director Salima Suswell stated, “I would like to commend the bold action taken by Commissioner Ross to swiftly address this issue. It is imperative that the PPD continues an open dialogue with the community around this concern, as the revelation of such despicable expressions by PPD Officers has broken the trust of many community members, which is imperative to be restored. We look forward to continuing our engagement with the community and Commissioner Ross around this matter.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender, 917-660-3805 (mobile), 267-515-6711 (office), firstname.lastname@example.org