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Sadly, these firings and suspensions in Philadelphia may be the clearest message around to all who work for government agencies–especially those in public safety–that a belief the First Amendment will protect your job, no matter what you share on social media, is misguided. This MCI-SMACSS event is impacting 69 police officers, so far.
If you’re still unclear about an any of this I urge you to look at the post “Read this column — It could save your job”. It really could save your job.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced Thursday that 13 officers would be fired for making racist or offensive Facebook posts, an unprecedented wave of terminations resulting from a scandal that has attracted national attention.
Speaking alongside Mayor Jim Kenney at a news conference at Police Headquarters, Ross said that in addition to the firings — the largest number of officers dismissed at one time in recent city history — an additional 56 cops would face disciplinary actions ranging from a reprimand to a 30-day unpaid suspension.
Ross said the posts contained such messages such as “death to Islam” or described African-Americans as “thugs.” Some also suggested violence to transgender individuals.
According to Ross, the department considered several factors when deciding on discipline, including the officers’ constitutional rights and the integrity of the police department.
In a statement, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby said the FOP is “disappointed that our officers will be terminated without due process.”