More than 70 Philadelphia police officers placed on administrative duty over allegedly racist and anti-Muslim social media posts
More than 70 Philadelphia police officers were placed on administrative duty following a national investigation into allegedly racist and anti-Muslim comments made on social media.
The Philadelphia Police Department is now conducting its own internal review, and Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he expected at least "several dozen" people would be disciplined and some to be fired.
The internal investigation was launched after offensive posts were compiled into a public database by The Plain View Project.
USA Today reported that the database contains more than 5,000 Facebook posts from 3,500 current or former police officers that "contain racist, anti-Muslim, misogynist and violent rhetoric."
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More than 70 Philadelphia police officers were placed on administrative duty following a national investigation into allegedly racist and violent comments made on social media.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at a press conference on Wednesday that he expected at least "several dozen" people would be disciplined and some would be fired.
An internal investigation was launched after offensive posts were compiled into a public database by The Plain View Project. Exactly 72 Philadelphia Police Department officers were taken off the streets after the group's accusation against the officers, which spans at least five states, the Associated Press reported.
"I am 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 there are some people who will meet with that fate," Ross said at the press conference.
According to the project's website, in 2016, a team of Philadelphia attorneys discovered that a number of local police officers made posts on Facebook that appeared to "endorse violence, racism, and bigotry."
Read more: Racist, violent posts by police: Departments investigating
"We believe that these statements could erode civilian trust and confidence in police, and we hope police departments will investigate and address them immediately," the project's website stated.
USA Today reported that the database contains more than 5,000 Facebook posts from 3,500 current or former police officers from eight police jurisdictions across the country.
"We've talked about, from the outset, how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are, and they will undeniably impact police-community relations," Ross said at the press conference. "There's no question that this puts us in a position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups who we struggle to work with or struggle to maintain relationships with now."
The president of the Philadelphia police union, John McNesby, called the commissioner's comments that officers may be fired before an investigation is complete, "premature and irresponsible," in a statement emailed to the Associated Press, saying that officers deserve "due process."
According to a statement by Ross, that was posted on the Philadelphia Police Facebook page, an independent law firm was asked to assist in the investigation to determine if the posts were constitutionally protected before taking an disciplinary action.
"When a police officer's expression of his or her opinions erodes the Police Department's ability to do its job and maintain the public's trust, the department is permitted to act, including disciplining officers when the circumstances allow for it," Ross said in the statement. "Police officers know they are held to a higher standard, and cannot engage in careless or outright reprehensible conduct, regardless whether they are on or off duty."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 'Blue's Clues' is making a comeback with a new look and new host. Here's what the original host, Steve Burns, did after he quit the show.