PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A stern warning was issued to Philadelphia police from their commissioner after racist and violent social media posts by some officers were posted by the Plain View Project.
It's not just a Philadelphia problem. The Plain View Project has cataloged problematic posts from police across the country.
But in the city of brotherly love, the head of police wants everyone to know he's taking the problem seriously.
"In an era where you're striving your best to cultivate relationships with communities across the city, things like this don't help," Richard Ross told KYW.
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Hundreds of Philadelphia police officers, some ranking sergeants and lieutenants, have been outed for alleged racist and violent posts across social media. There are thousands of Facebook comments and shared posts now compiled by the Plain View Project.
There are posts where officers write about wanting to ram people with Obama stickers and others calling those in the Black Lives Matter movement "racist pieces of [expletive]." There's sexism, bigotry and even threats of violence and calls for the executions of protesters. All the posts and comments were allegedly written by sworn officers.
In his remarks to recent police academy graduates, the commissioner alluded to the controversy eclipsing some 300 members of his force.
"Try your damnedest not to do anything to embarrass that. Not to do anything that would upset that brand, because it doesn't take but one to do it. Please uphold yourself in the most utmost professional way that you can," said Ross.
Philadelphia is not alone. Officers in other major cities are caught in the crosshairs of troubling social media behavior charted in the database.
The ACLU said the magnitude of officers involved is profoundly disturbing.
"The department needs to understand this is a culture problem and they need to find a way to address the culture problem," said ACLU deputy legal director Mary Catherine Roper.
The president of Philadelphia's police union issued a statement condemning violence and racism, but also called for more protection against the same types of behavior against police.