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An alarming investigation carried out by The Plain View Project has compelled the Philadelphia Police Department to place 72 officers on administrative leave.

On June 1, the nonprofit organization released a list of bigoted social media content published by 300 Philadelphia police officers. The organization has collected similiar data relating to police departments in cities and municipalities including St. Louis, MO; Phoenix, AZ; Lake County, FL; Dallas, TX; and York, PA.

When announcing the decision to place dozens of officers on leave, Police Commissioner Richard Ross commented on the impact that the revelations would have on the city:

We’ve talked about from the outset how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are and how they will undeniably impact police-community relations. We’re not naïve to the fact and nor are we dismissive of it.

A group of lawyers based in Philadelphia launched The Plain View Project in 2016 after encountering shocking posts made by police officers online that advocated for racial bias in policing and the use of excessive violence against African-American suspects.

The city of Philadelphia has hired Ballard Spahr, a private law firm, to independently review and report on The Plain View Project’s findings in conjunction with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Law Department.

Commissioner Ross explained the punitive measures that the department will take against certain officers who used threats of violence or prejudicial language that fall outside of First Amendment protections:

I’m not prepared to tell you at this point who’s being disciplined and how many may be terminated, but I can tell you with a degree of certainty that there are some people who will meet with that fate.

Visit The Plain View Project’s database to learn more.

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