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Via theappeal.org: On Saturday, Injustice Watch and BuzzFeed News published an investigation into racist and violent social media posts by current and retired police officers. The article by Emily Hoerner and Rick Tulsky came out of a collaboration with the Plain View Project, which examined the Facebook accounts of police officers from eight departments across the county.
The Plain View Project looked at the accounts of about 2,900 current officers and 800 retired officers. Hoerner and Tulsky reported that “the project sought to compile posts, comments, and other public activity that could undermine public trust in the police and reinforce the views of critics, especially in minority communities, that the police are not there to protect them.” The researchers found more than 5,000 posts and comments that met their criteria. Of the officers who could be identified on Facebook, 1 in every 5 of the current officers and 2 in every 5 of the retired officers made comments that met that standard, “typically by displaying bias, applauding violence, scoffing at due process, or using dehumanizing language,” Hoerner and Tulsky wrote. They describe posts in which “officers mocked Mexicans, women, and black people, celebrated the Confederate flag, and showed a man wearing a kaffiyeh scarf in the crosshairs of a gun.” A post by a Phoenix police officer read: “Its [sic] a good day for a choke hold.” One Philadelphia officer mocked another officer as a “disgrace” for exercising restraint when a person refused to show a receipt. “My taser would’ve had him dancing,” he wrote.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the identification of nearly 330 active local officers’ public Facebook posts that were included in the database. Reggie Shuford of the ACLU of Pennsylvania said, “Hundreds of police officers in Philadelphia openly express hostility and antipathy toward the people they serve. And the report only exposes those officers who did not hide their views behind a privacy wall. How many more officers say the same thing under the cloak of stronger privacy settings?”