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Phoenix police chief: Officers’ controversial posts ‘minimize trust’

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix police chief said Wednesday there is “no room for hate” in her organization after a database published nearly 300 controversial social media posts made by current and former Phoenix officers.

Chief Jeri Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that the department has rules that clearly explain to officers that they can be disciplined for conduct that results in the erosion of public trust in the organization.

“When that conduct extends to minimize trust, erode trust, public confidence, and really disrupts the operations of the organization, I have to do something about it,” she said.

She said the department looked at “the most egregious posts, those that were racially motivated, sexually motivated, some that had violence,” and reassigned some employees to nonenforcement positions while an investigation is underway.

“We had to take swift action because there’s no room for hate in the Phoenix Police Department, there’s no room for hate in the city of Phoenix,” she said.

Williams said the controversy over the Plain View Project, which consists of thousands of flagged social media posts made by police in eight U.S. cities, is making it difficult for the officers who work to build strong relationships with the community to do their jobs.

The posts from about 75 Phoenix officers include memes mocking minority groups, including Muslims, African Americans, immigrants and transgender people.

They also include statements some see as promoting violence, including “It’s a good day for a choke hold” and a meme showing a cartoon character shooting former President Barack Obama in the head.

Williams said any disciplinary action against the active officers included in the database will have to wait until the investigation is complete.

“I really just want to get to the truth first, and then we’ll talk about all of that later,” she said.

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