PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police Chief Jeri Williams promised a thorough investigation Tuesday after a group published a hoard of inflammatory social media posts by current police officers in Phoenix and several other cities.

"After looking at some of the more egregious posts, I did make a conscious choice and decision to put a number of employees on non-enforcement assignments just to make sure we can do a really deep dive into what we are looking at and what's going on,” Chief Williams said in an interview.

[WATCH: PHX police chief says officers' social media posts are 'disturbing']

A group called the Plain View Project out of Philadelphia examined personal social media accounts for current and former police officers in eight cities, including Phoenix.

The group flagged 179 posts by current Phoenix officers which it says promoted racism, bigotry or violence.

In one case, Phoenix officer Reuben Carver wrote in 2011, “Its a good day for a choke hold."

[WATCH: AZ activist says there's a connection to what police say and how they act]

A spokesman for the department said researchers brought the Carver case to their attention earlier this year.

"This particular inquiry was reviewed by our Professional Standards Bureau and did not rise to the level of misconduct on the part of the employee," said Sgt. Vince Lewis, adding that the department was now reviewing other posts for potential misconduct.

Williams declined to comment on specific cases during the interview on Tuesday.

Many of the posts were memes that mocked minorities or religious groups, including Muslims.

"I am embarrassed and disappointed to read these comments,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in a statement. “There is no context in which these statements are acceptable. This city has absolutely no place for hate."

The president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association described the Plain View Project as an “anti-police organization” on a “hunt for negative spin.”

“People -- including cops -- say things they regret or that are unfortunate," said PLEA president Britt London in a statement. "But to judge an entire police department by a few social media posts is doing a grave disservice to the nearly 3,000 sworn officers who work the frontlines in Phoenix every day.”

Several of the posts involved viral content with political overtones.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, “much of this only rises to the level of ‘hate’ if you’re a liberal snowflake.”

“We need to judge people on their actions, understand that free speech is messy and stop trying to stifle and persecute people for having opinions we don't like," he added.

But law enforcement experts said Phoenix Police were correct to thoroughly investigate the posts.

“They should take these very seriously,” said Samuel Walker, an emeritus professor at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Omaha.

Former Salt River Police Chief Stan Kephart said inflammatory posts by officers pose a threat to public confidence.

“It’s a very, very, very thin line we’re trying to cut here. You must balance the right of every police officer to exercise their constitutional rights against the good of the department,” he said.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(17) comments

Phillup Witgas

After all the cr^p these officers have to deal with, if they want to blow off a little steam on social media then have at it.

Kirk480

If a cop arrests someone and a lawyer finds memes that joke about race or religion they could possibly convince a jury that the arresting officer was acting with prejudice.

BABAZ

Wish they would post their names. I would like to friend them. They did nothing wrong. It is called freedom of speech. We all have it.

Daddy

Phoenix PD may have a small amount of problems but their issues get dealt with and pale in comparison to Mesa PD's cover-ups, false reports, abuse of power, and LYING TO GRAND JURIES to send innocent people to prison, jail, and/or probation. Corruption runs deep in Mesa PD including the Mesa Police Association.

Paula Black

Mesa lawyers and judges are CROOKED for sure!

andthesurveysays

No surprises. Police aren't your friends. Period.

YoureAnIgnoramous

Anyone who works in Public Service, either federally or statewide, should undergo mandatory psychologically evaluation by an independent agency as a matter of policy. Period. Too many right-wing extremists in our law enforcement, many of which who sympathies with other Extremist groups online. Public Servants, as a matter of ethics, should not be making "jokes" about hurting the very people/communities they're supposed to protect. If they're so lackadaisical with their immature stupidly on Facebook imagine what kind of stupid stuff they do while on the job.

trsalemme

They DO undergo third party psych. exams. Anyone who thinks re-posting funny memes qualifies you to be a Extremist, is what Sal DiCiccio called a liberal snowflake. Were some of the posts inflammatory? Maybe. I don't know; as the liberal media didn't want to show THOSE on their 5pm broadcast, as they were TOO inflammatory. ::eye roll:: The ones they did show were stupid funny memes that have saturated the web. There is ALWAYS going to be some bad apples in a bunch, but to think that reposting memes means they cant be professional law enforcement officers? LOL You have it totally backwards. People post those things because they are funny, often true, and if such things were uttered in public, mostly snowflakes would have mental breakdowns. So use your right to free speech where those morons cant stop you. Online. Sure they can come after you afterwards, but that just makes them look worse than they already are. It has nothing to do with how you perform your duties..MOST of the time. There will always be exceptions.

JF Conlon

You post a lot of 'glad they're dead' type posts. And you probably think you're a real humerous guy. No doubt daddy thinks he's a real scream, too. Bet you two just loved Benny Hill.

trsalemme

True. Not humorous at all. Truth and fact. Not a problem stating that i'm anti-criminal. Its a slightly counter-productive attitude to have, since criminals are what pay my bills. :) I do find all kinds of memes very humorous, regardless as to whose expense it is aimed at. If they are offended by it, I can only suggest not looking at them, and growing up. Benny Hill was "ok".

JustinP

Right wing extremists? Really?!?! Perhaps you should see the liberal loonies running the funny farm now in Phx.

Daddy

YoureAnl, shut the h3ll up and stop trying to sound like you know something you racist loser. What a stupid comment. You're laughable you goofball.

trsalemme

"Councilman Sal DiCiccio said, “much of this only rises to the level of ‘hate’ if you’re a liberal snowflake.†LMAO!!! Nothing could be more true!!!!!!! I was never a fan of Sal, as far as how he dealt with some ahwatukee issues, but this is the single-most greatest, truthful thing I have ever heard come from him.

Wayne kenoff

He wrote that in 2011! Wow come on, we all said stupid stuff 8 years ago!

Robs

The Sticks n Stonists [scared]

nuusmaan

The guy who posts the same comment with a slight alteration. Why? You're like a mosquito.

Djamz

He’s a Russian mosquito

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