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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, confirmed on Wednesday that a 72 Philadelphia police officers have been placed on administrative duty amid an internal investigation into an alleged anti-Muslim social media posts made by the senior officers of the force.
Ross said the officers were taken off patrol duty and had their guns seized, and the Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) is investigating approximately 3,100 the total number of messages, of Philadelphia, Fox 29 reported. He could not confirm whether officers would be placed on administrative duty as the investigation continues, but that he expected “a few dozen” of the seventy-two officers are to be disciplined and have at least a certain number to be made redundant.
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“We’ve been talking about, from the very beginning, how disturbing, how disappointing and shocking this post, and it will no doubt be an impact on police relations with the community,” he said.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross speaks with members of the media during a news conference in Philadelphia, Wednesday, the 19th of June, 2019 at the latest.
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
The messages were discovered by an international team of researchers, who over the past two years, looking for a personal Facebook account to the police, Arizona, and Florida. She told me that she found the officers, bashing immigrants, and Muslims, and the promotion of racial stereotypes, and identification with right-wing militia groups, and, above all, the glorification of police brutality. All posts are open to the public.
The Philadelphia Police Department is set to hire an independent firm to analyze the messages of each and every officer placed on administrative duty, in order to see whether or not the messages were constitutionally protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. One of the messages that are not protected by the First Amendment, the department will take action accordingly, Fox 29 reported.
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The department has also rolled out a new racial sensitivity training, and will be looking into the revision of the current social media policy, including the possibility of monitoring by civil servants from the social media business, Ross said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.