Philly police

Police stand along Benjamin Franklin Parkway as City Hall stands in the background.

— (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Philadelphia Police Department brass are expected to provide updates next week on the investigation of police officers who allegedly made racist and violent social media posts.

On Tuesday, City Council is expected to haul Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter, City Managing Director Brian Abernathy, and others to testify about the alleged Facebook posts made by more than 320 officers.

Hans Menos, executive director Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, said the controversy over the postings ranks among the highest-profile issues affecting police-community relations in years.

But Menos, who will testify at the hearing, said he was concerned about how much information officials will ultimately release about their internal investigation into the postings, including why some officers were fired, disciplined, or cleared of wrongdoing.

“There should be a full accounting about why each decision was made,” he said.

The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the City Council Chambers inside City Hall. The list of expected witnesses had yet to be finalized as of Thursday, but ex-Commissioner Richard Ross, under whose leadership the posts were revealed, was not expected to testify.

The Kenney administration was expected to reveal insight into the investigation of the alleged postings, said Frank Iannuzzi, legislative director for Councilman Derek Green who put forward the legislation calling for the hearings.

“We think the [Kenney] administration has enough information to be able to speak competently about what they’ve learned, rather than just telling us, ‘We’re still waiting for the results of the investigation,’” Iannuzzi said.

The Philadelphia Law Department, Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department were involved in the investigation.

When Green, a Democrat, put forward the legislation calling for the hearings in June, he said the Committee of the Whole would not hold the hearing until the police department concluded its own investigation.

Mike Dunn, a spokesman for the Kenney administration, declined in an email to comment for this story.

A spokesman for the police department said in an email there was no updated information regarding the officers involved in the postings and declined to comment further.

Michael Neilon, a spokesman for Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said in an email the police union had no comment.

Coulter did not return a call seeking comment.

In June, a research group called The Plain View Project and BuzzFeed identified hundreds of Philadelphia police officers who appeared to make thousands of racist, sexist, violent or otherwise offensive posts on Facebook.

The report looked at Facebook accounts of about 2,900 active officers and 600 retired officers in Philadelphia and seven other departments, and found thousands of questionable posts.

Shortly after the report was released, 72 officers were taken off the streets and put on desk duty.

In July Ross said he would fire 13 officers involved in the postings and discipline four additional officers with 30-day suspensions. Seven of the officers who were going to be fired instead retired.

Ross previously said it was unlikely that there will be any more terminations, but some of posts made by the other officers remained under scrutiny.

(1) comment


Its called conduct unbecoming; They all should be fired.

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