ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis police are conducting an internal investigation into allegations that current and former officers posted racist, violent, homophobic and anti-Muslim statements on Facebook.
A Philadelphia-based organization called the Plain View Project studied thousands of posts from St. Louis and seven other jurisdictions as part of a project that began in 2017. Forty-three of the 3,500 accounts viewed by the group were tied to St. Louis, with 22 of those involving current officers.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on Monday said the posts were "disturbing and unacceptable," while the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that city police undergo sensitivity training.
Some of the posts question Black History Month, celebrate the roughing up of protesters and the shooting of criminals, objectify women, contain homophobic slurs and express disgust for Islam, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
"I think there are enough of these posts out there that this doesn't seem like a 'bad apples' problem, it seems like a culture problem . I fear that people in these communities might be less likely to ask an officer for help," said the project's founder, Emily Baker-White.
Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, said the union is trying to set up a meeting with CAIR.
"Until the source of the posts is verified and authenticated, we're not going to comment on any speculation that any of these posts originated with police officers who we represent," he said in a written response to questions.
Krewson said in a statement that the city's social media policy adopted last September makes it clear such posts are unacceptable.
"We expect professionalism out of every City employee," she said.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com