More than 100 police officers in St. Louis and Philadelphia have been placed on administrative duty or an “exclusion list” while they are investigated for offensive social media posts.
What We Know:
- St. Louis top prosecutor Kimberly Gardner added 22 names to an ‘exclusion list’, bringing the total number to 59. However, only 22 of the 59 are on the list because of offensive posts. This comes after a national research group accused the officers of racist and anti-Muslim posts on social media.
- Gardner sent a letter to Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden informing them of the changes. She indicated that seven of the 22 are “permanently banned” from presenting cases to her office. The other 15 will be reviewed to consider the conditions of reinstatement.
- “When a police officer’s integrity is compromised in this manner, it compromises the entire criminal justice system and our overall ability to pursue justice,” Gardner said in a news release Tuesday. Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis police department called Gardner’s announcement a distraction. “The city adopted a social media policy in September 2018 and all these posts predate that,” Roorda told NBC News in a phone interview.
- This follows the disclosure this month by the Plain View Project, which studied thousands of Facebook posts from various jurisdictions around the country, including St. Louis and Philadelphia. Forty-three of the 3,500 accounts viewed by the group are tied to St. Louis. Twenty-one of those involved former officers while 22 are current officers.
- Some of the offensive posts mock Muslims while others display the Confederate flag and question whether Black History Month is racist. Earlier this month, 10 Philly cops were placed on desk duty while internal affairs investigated if the content the officers posted violated the department’s social media policy.
Cases currently under review where the officers on Gardner’s “exclusion list” are primary witnesses will be refused.