If you’re not too keen on the New York Police Department, don’t worry — the feeling is mutual.
Officers within the NYPD allegedly typed racist and revealing comments on a public Facebook page seemingly undetected until a New York attorney uncovered them.
Benjamin Moore was one of two attorneys from Brooklyn Defender Services representing a food-service worked named Tyrone Johnson in a gun possession trial that made it to the State Supreme Court last month. Curious about the arresting officer that first brought allegations against his client, Moore logged onto Facebook to see if the cop had a personal page. Digging through his profile, Moore quickly uncovered more than he ever thought imaginable.
Sgt. Dustin Edwards was one of around 150 Facebook users who belonged to a public group called “No More West Indian Day Detail.” On the page, NYPD officers voiced their hatred for having to patrol the annual event and its subsequent parade that has been marred with violence before.
To some of the officers, those acts of violence are just second nature to those West Indian “animals.”
“I say have the parade one more year and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out,” writes one commenter, Dan Rodney. The New York Times first broke the story and reached out to Rodney, who confirmed that he was a police officer and a user of Facebook but denied that he made that comment.
“I leave my phone around sometimes. Other than that I have no comment” said Officer Rodney.
Many of the users that posted messages in the group had names that matched those of NYPD officers, and are now being challenged over whether or not they made the comments. One such match was responsible for a post that reads, “Let them kill each other.” Another, claiming to be Officer Nick Virgilio, called the parade goers “filth” and defended himself by saying, “it’s not racist if it’s true.”
“I found it astounding,” Moore tells the New York Times. He made a digital copy of the archives and printed out the contents of the group, which accumulated to 70 pages. Days later, the group had vanished.
Sgt. Edwards admitted to joining the group but said it was only because he knew a lot of other officers in the force that were members. To Johnson’s attorneys, however, this connection could be enough to challenge the NYPD’s claims that their client had a gun. Johnson is black and lived in the parade area. He was arrested for allegedly unlawfully possessing a gun on the route of the parade hours before the celebration began in 2010. Although he denies knowledge of posts along the lines of “ethnic cleansing” in the neighborhood and having the parade “moved to the zoo,” Moore and his associate hope that this development will get charges dropped against their client, and could also cause some new ones against the officers themselves — NYPD cops are barred from “discourteous or disrespectful remarks” about race or ethnicity.