Rabb says firing of officers involved in racist conduct is the ‘right thing to do’

Case shows the need for Rabb’s bill to enact interdepartmental law enforcement hiring reform

PHILADELPHIA, July 18 – State Rep. Chris Rabb said the move by the Philadelphia Police Department to fire more than a dozen police officers who made racist or offensive Facebook posts is the right thing to do.

“We rely on police officers to protect us, all of us, and to serve as an example of appropriate behavior in our community,” said Rabb, D-Phila. “Unethical, racist, inappropriate behavior or comments by police officers, like that exhibited by these officers from the Philadelphia Police Department, undermines the public’s trust in an institution that is supposed to serve us all.

“Sending the message that such behavior will not be tolerated in any police department is the right thing to do,” Rabb said. “But it’s not enough if those police officers are able to find employment in another community that’s unsuspecting of their past behavior.”

Rabb said his legislation, H.B. 1666, would ensure that officers like those being fired by the Philadelphia Police Department cannot just move on to another department without leadership and the community being aware of their past behavior.

Rabb said H.B. 1666 would not stop a department from hiring a police officer who separated from their last job after a pattern of allegations, complaints or charges for inappropriate behavior. But, it would ensure that the hiring departments are fully informed about whom they are hiring.

“This legislation would empower police chiefs and municipalities to make fully informed decisions about the officers who serve their communities,” Rabb said. “Accountability and transparency, which this legislation would promote, are assets in agencies and departments that strive for integrity.”

In June, the Plain View Project published a database of Facebook posts made by police officers, including those from the Philadelphia Police Department. Many of the posts included in the database depicted or included statements about race, religion, ethnicity and violence.