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Crime2 more Philly cops to be fired in Facebook probe, bringing total to 15

21:25  11 september  2019
21:25  11 september  2019 Source:   philly.com

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Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine M. Coulter said Tuesday that 15 police officers had been suspended with intent to dismiss for making racist or offensive Facebook posts — two more than the Police Department had announced in July when officials revealed the first wave of discipline over a scandal that attracted national attention.

2 more Philly cops to be fired in Facebook probe, bringing total to 15© TYGER WILLIAMS/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS Christine M. Coulter speaks in front of the City Council committee hearing about the objectionable Facebook posts made by city cops on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.

Speaking to City Council members during a hearing on the matter, Coulter also said that Internal Affairs had investigated 343 officers for their social media activity, more than the 328 active cops whose posts were cataloged on the Plain View Project database, published in June by advocates studying police bias. Coulter said that “additional violators” had been discovered during the department’s investigation of the posts in the database.

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The acting commissioner did not identify any of the officers who were suspended with intent to dismiss, but said 11 of the 15 facing termination had resigned before they could be fired.

Some Council members complained that those cops would be able to walk away and retain their pensions; Coulter said the benefit of resignations is that those officers cannot challenge their departures through arbitration.

The police officers’ union has said it believes any firings over the Facebook posts would be “completely out of bounds.”

Coulter and Managing Director Brian Abernathy criticized the posts and lamented that the scandal had eroded trust between the Police Department and city residents.

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Councilwoman Cindy Bass, however, was among those who said they believed the posts — some of which expressed support for police violence or used demeaning language about race or religion — reflected an attitude by police familiar to many city residents. “The idea that this is a revelation of some sort ... is extremely disturbing to me,” Bass said.

Bass also called on Coulter to resign over wearing a shirt in the 1990s that appeared to refer to the Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King. Coulter, who has said she never interpreted the shirt as a reference to the assault, began the hearing by apologizing for having worn the shirt.

Here are some highlights about the Police Department’s disciplinary actions regarding the Facebook scandal, as presented in Coulter’s prepared remarks:

Number of officers investigated: 343

Number of officers found to have violated department policy: 19315 officers suspended with intent to dismiss. 11 resigned before being fired. 7 suspended for 30 days. 148 faced “command level discipline," in which the most serious penalty is a five-day suspension. 3 ordered to undergo training and counseling only. 9 received an Internal Affairs notification only. 11 await a ruling on discipline.

Number of officers who did not violate department policy: 100

Number of cases deemed "unfounded”: 23

Number of cases pending: 27

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©2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.inquirer.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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