The investigation began after the group, the Plain View Project, compiled racist and offensive comments on social media apparently posted by hundreds of police officers across the country, including in Philadelphia.
The database was published by Injustice Watch, a not-for-profit journalism organization, and ultimately revealed that more than 300 Philadelphia officers allegedly posted troubling content.
Many of the comments called for violence against Muslims, protestors, immigrants, and those accused of crimes. Some posts celebrated police brutality and in a few cases called for violence against women.
"We are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw, that in many cases the rest of the nation saw," said Ross during a press conference on Wednesday.
Ross says discipline will happen in stages, dealing with the most severe posts first.
"We will not be shy about leading out the appropriate discipline, which could range for day off, to termination--which is probably going to happen for some of these officers," said the commissioner.
Earlier this month, Ross said the department is "cognizant of the First Amendment implications." However, he said it appears some comments are not protected by the First Amendment.
Ross says an independent law firm continues to assist in the investigation.
John McNesby, FOP Lodge #5 president released this statement following Wednesday's press conference:
Updated statement from FOP regarding the now 72 officers who are on administrative leave. McNesby saying it’s irresponsible to talk about firings when the investigation isn’t complete, and adds far too many officers are being taken off the street at a time of increased violence pic.twitter.com/9dzVpf5CG6— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) June 19, 2019
District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office is reviewing the database and may not call certain officers to testify during trial if evidence of bias is found.
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