January 31, 2020

Dallas Police Department disciplines 13 officers for …

Dallas Police Department disciplines 13 officers for …

At least 13 officers were disciplined Thursday for offensive comments they made on social media. Some of the remarks made light of police brutality or involved racial stereotypes and Islamophobic comments.

The department announced its decision a day after reprimanding 22 former vice unit officers at the conclusion of a nearly three-year investigation. Officials did not respond to an interview request on the vice investigation Wednesday or to a phone call seeking comment regarding the discipline for social media posts Thursday.

The department began its review of officers’ social media use in July after The Plain View Project, a watchdog organization, released a database of public Facebook posts from eight police departments. The content, according to the project’s creators, “could undermine public trust and confidence in police.”

Investigators reviewed hundreds of social media posts and initially looked at the conduct of 25 officers. It was immediately unclear why only 13 were disciplined. Two cases are pending, officials said.

In a statement Thursday, the Police Department said discipline ranged from documented counseling to suspensions without pay.

The department’s social media policy states that officers “are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites” as long as it doesn’t “impair working relationships of the Department, impede the performance of their duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the Department.”

Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall said in a statement that every action by officers “impacts our relationships with our entire community.”

“It is imperative that we operate with the highest level of ethics and integrity to ensure that the public is confident in the legitimacy of who we are as a law enforcement agency.”

Some police departments responded quickly after the database went public last summer.

In Philadelphia, more than 70 officers were pulled from the streets following a review.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams denounced the posts in her department, calling them “embarrassing and disturbing” shortly after the database went online, according to Phoenix’s KSAZ-TV. Twelve officers have been placed on non-enforcement duty, Phoenix police spokesman Tommy Thompson said in an email.

Published at Thu, 30 Jan 2020 17:20:00 +0000

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