The Plain View Project

Indications of a “Bad Attitude” Among Some American Police?

Ed. Note: I have been concerned by what I have described in the past as a “bad attitude” among some police officers that thwart overall efforts to rebuild community trust and support. The following piece is from “The Plain View Project” founded by Attny. Emily Baker White. It also links to Prof. David Harris’ interview with her on “Criminal Injustice.” For me, these outrageous comments by police officers is one of the manifestations of a negative police subculture that is a result of poor selection, “boot camp” recruit academies, and failure of leadership across the ranks from first-line supervisors to chiefs of police. Try to look at it this way, if you were a person of color and you found out that a number of physicians within in a local hospital were posting racist social media comments would you choose to go there? Even if it was only 5 or 10% of the physicians?

“In the summer of 2016, a team of attorneys in Philadelphia learned that numerous local police officers had posted content on Facebook that appeared to endorse violence, racism and bigotry. In some of these posts, officers commented that apprehended suspects—often black men— ‘should be dead’ or ‘should have more lumps on his head.’ In other Facebook conversations, officers advocated shooting looters on sight and using cars to run over protestors. Numerous posts deemed Islam ‘a cult, not a religion’ and referred to Muslims as ‘savages’ and ‘goat-humpers.’ And, in still others, officers appeared to joke about beating and raping women.

“This discovery inspired the creation of the Plain View Project (PVP), a research project that has identified thousands of Facebook posts and comments by current and former police officers. We believe that these statements could erode civilian trust and confidence in police, and we hope police departments will investigate and address them immediately.” [From The Plain View Project website.]