A new analysis of thousands of police officers’ social media accounts published by BuzzFeed News and Injustice Watch on Monday exposed hundreds of posts with violent and racist threats, including one that read: “Just another savage that needs to be exterminated…”
The Plain View Project, launched by Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White, combed through the accounts of about 2,900 active duty officers from eight police departments across the country and an additional 600 retired officers from those same departments.
BuzzFeed and Injustice Watch profiled several cases of bigoted, racist and violent content from the project.
Plain View researchers found that about one in five of the current officers they could positively identify, and two out of five of the retired officers, reportedly made public posts or comments with offensive content.
One Philadelphia police officer posted “should have shot him” along with surveillance video of an armed, would-be robber backed out of a liquor store after the clerk pulled a gun on him.
Another officer responded, “I would of [sic] pulled the trigger.”
“Just another savage that needs to be exterminated,” wrote Booker Smith Jr., a Dallas police sergeant, about a homicide at a Dollar General store.
Reuben Carver III, a Phoenix officer, declared in a post, “Its a good day for a choke hold.”
Experts in race and criminal justice expressed deep concern over the shocking number of problematic posts.
“This blows up the myth of bad apples, by the sheer number of images and numbers of individuals who are implicated,” Nikki Jones, an associate professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley, told BuzzFeed and Injustice Watch.
David Kennedy, a criminology professor at John Jay College, said he considered the results “dire.”
“This is the kind of behavior that confirms the worst suspicions on the part of communities about the police,” Kennedy said, adding that it “fuels and cements” the convictions of people in distressed communities have that the “police are not to be trusted.”