Glowing Laptop in the Dark Photo by Filiberto Santillán on Unsplash

CAIR-Philadelphia Welcomes Arbitration Decision Against Former Philadelphia Police Officer Fired for Anti-Muslim, Bigoted Facebook Posts

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 12/22/20) — The Philadelphia Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) welcomes the arbitration decision against former Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) officer Daniel Farrelly. Farrelly was one of 16 officers fired by or received other penalties from the PPD since the 2019 revelations by Plain View Project. Farrelly challenged the City of Philadelphia’s decision to fire him in response to his anti-Muslim and bigoted posts.

SEE: Hundreds of current and former Philadelphia police officers implicated in racist and offensive Facebook posts

Farrelly was among 328 PPD officers whose social media posts were publicized by the Plain View Project. The 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.

Friday’s arbitration decision comes after months of a legal process where lawyers representing the City of Philadelphia & PPD defended the decision to fire Farrelly. Muslim leaders from Philadelphia testified and provided context to the City’s decision in arbitration hearings — a legally binding process between the City and the Police Union through which contracts are negotiated and disciplinary issues are resolved.

CAIR-Philadelphia, alongside Muslim community and faith leaders, met with the PPD and City of Philadelphia leadership to express the Philadelphia Muslim community’s concerns with the revelations in Plain View Project and with problematic policing practices, including those cited in City of Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission’s October 2020 report about the Plain View Project. According to this report, 95 officers featured in the database posted or shared Islamophobic content.

SEE: The Plain View Database

SEE: Police Advisory Comission Report of Plain View Project

In a statement, CAIR-Philadelphia President Mohammed Zubairu said, “It is never OK for public servants to behave the way these officers have done, especially when one’s livelihood is the protection of citizens and when these individuals carry guns. We acknowledge that people like former officer Daniel Farrelly do not represent all officers but it is time for the conscientious members of the PPD to openly speak up against Islamophobia, racism, and bigotry, especially when this originates among their fellow officers. It is my sincere hope that consequences such as these send the message that all citizens should be protected and served by their Police. We seek to dialogue with the Philadelphia Police and through that interaction achieve a better police force for all of us.”

Salima Suswell, an American-Muslim leader, stated, “I am encouraged by this decision and hope that it will serve as the first step towards rebuilding trust between the Philadelphia Police Department and the local Muslim community, as well as other communities that were harmed by the outcome of the Plain View Project investigation. The viciousness of the discriminatory and hate-filled actions by PPD Officers against large constituencies within our city are a threat to the safety of us all. I remain committed to seeking justice on this important issue as the arbitration process continues.”

Dr. Quaiser Abdullah, a community leader, police chaplain, and university professor, stated, “It is good to see that the Philadelphia Police Department and the arbitrator understand how bias, prejudice, verbal aggression, and racism impact police conduct and behavior in our communities. Paying attention to the social science research that shows connections between verbal aggression and conflict escalation — including police violence — will help move us along the path to justice and healing for a community that has consistently felt the brunt of inequitable policing practices. Investing resources into removing officers — and keeping them off the force — who pose a threat to the communities they serve is a necessary step to changing the culture of policing that has created harm in our communities. I look forward to more positive outcomes as we continue to navigate this arbitration process involving other officers who have shown contempt towards the citizens they serve.”

CAIR-Philadelphia will continue to monitor the legal process for those former officers whose arbitration proceedings are ongoing.

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 Education and Outreach Director Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, PhD; atekelioglu@cair.com; 617-401-5397 (cell)