Jul 20, 2019

13 Philadelphia cops first to be fired for racist, homophobic Facebook posts

Philadelphia community members and activists discuss police officers' racist social media posts on June 20. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

13 Philadelphia police officers will be fired after a 30-day suspension for making racist and homophobic posts on Facebook, many of which advocated violence, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: These officers are among the 3,500+ identified by the nonprofit Plain View Project, which catalogues public Facebook posts by former and active duty officers that appear to endorse racism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, general violence or police brutality. Police departments in at least 5 statesTexas, Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida — said they began investigating their officers' social media feeds last month.

  • 25 officers in Dallas, Texas faced disciplinary measures earlier this month after an internal review of their Facebook posts, which "included joking about police shooting victims." 4 of the officers were placed on administrative leave.
  • In Missouri, St. Louis Circuit attorney Kimberly Gardner added 22 of the involved officers to a list of those "who are not allowed to bring cases to her office."

Reality check: From 2006-2017, the largest police departments in the U.S. "fired at least 1,881 officers for misconduct that betrayed the public’s trust," the Post reports. 450 of those officers were later reinstated "after appeals required by union contracts," although in many cases their "underlying misconduct was undisputed."

The backdrop: The Plain View Project was launched in 2017 by attorney Emily Baker-White. The project's database includes posts dating back to 2013 and is funded by private donations, per AP. A joint investigation by BuzzFeed and Injustice Watch, the latter of which served as the project’s fiscal sponsor, brought the database into the national news cycle last month.

Go deeper: Local police increasingly clash with federal law enforcement on body cameras

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Mass murder in America

People hold hands during a vigil for victims at St Pius X Church in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Less than 13 hours after a mass shooting during back-to-school shopping left 20 dead in El Paso, 9 people were killed overnight in Dayton, Ohio, in a second mass shooting.

Driving the news: CNN's banner tells the story of a weekend that no one will want to remember, but that we can't forget: "13 hours of bloodshed: Two mass shootings leave 29 dead."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 4, 2019

Barr plans death penalty fast-track for mass shooters and police killers

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told the Fraternal Order of Police conference in New Orleans Monday the Trump administration will push for legislation fast-tracking the death penalty in cases of mass shootings or the killing of police officers.

"I will share with you one proposal that we will be advancing after Labor Day.  We will be proposing legislation providing that in cases of mass murder, or in cases of murder of a law enforcement officer, there will be a timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow imposition of any death sentence without undue delay.  Punishment must be swift and certain."
— Attorney General Bill Barr speech to the Fraternal Order of Police

Go deeper: Trump administration to bring back federal death penalty after 16-year lapse

Keep ReadingArrowAug 13, 2019

Coroner finds suspected Dayton shooter had drugs in his system during attack

A memorial to mass shooting victims outside Ned Peppers Bar on Aug. 5, near the scene of the massacre in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP/Getty Images

Police in Dayton, Ohio, said that 24-year-old Connor Betts shot 26 people in 32 seconds before officers killed him in the Aug. 4 attack that left 10 dead, including the gunman, WHIO TV reports.

The latest: The gunman had cocaine, antidepressants and alcohol in his system during the shooting, AP reports, citing the Montgomery County coroner. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered that 24-year-old Ethan Kollie be held without bond on Thursday. Kollie, a friend of Betts, purchased body armor and a high-capacity magazine used in the shooting. Kollie has been charged with "lying on a federal firearms form while buying a pistol not used in the attack," per AP.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 15, 2019