12 Philly Cops Fired For Social Media Posts Can Sue The City, Appeals Court Rules

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 12, 2023 - 01:00 AM

Police in Philadelphia can keep fighting back over being fired or suspended due to allegedly "racist and violent" social media posts, an appeals court ruled late last week. 

A Federal appeals court ruled this week that the officers can file a lawsuit against the city claiming their First Amendment rights were violated due to their terminations, according to WHYY

In total, a dozen offers were fired for their social media posts, the report says. Their social media accounts "were included in a database, published in 2019, that catalogued thousands of bigoted or violent posts by active-duty and former police officers in several states", WHYY reported.

About 200 officers were disciplined and 15 were taken off the job, the report says. 12 of those 15 ultimately went on to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city, but it was dismissed last year, with the presiding judge ruling that "the officers’ posts had undermined public trust in the department and violated the city’s social media policy".

U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker wrote in his ruling last year that the officers “played racist bingo, mocking as many ethnic or religious groups as possible".

But on Thursday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it was too early to throw out the case, citing "a lack of clarity over the provenance of some of the posts". The appeals court did, however, write that: “Posts like the officers’ have the capacity to confirm the community’s worst fears about bias in policing.”

The 3rd Circuit said it doesn't “condone the officers’ use of social media to mock, disparage, and threaten the very communities they were sworn to protect.”

The appeals court said the plaintiffs “undoubtedly face a steep uphill climb in ultimately proving their case", but sent the case back to the lower courts nonetheless.