Some members of Philadelphia Police Department who were disciplined for the 2019 Philly police Facebook post scandal have filed an $18 million lawsuit against the city. The suit calls BuzzFeed News “a left-leaning agency that has been widely criticized by several journalistic sources as unreliable.”
The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court, points to the following social media policy, which lawyers for the plaintiffs say was in effect at the time of the posts:
“Employees who are off-duty, and using privately-owned property to engage in the personal use of social media, do not represent the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, or any official position maintained by either entity. Under such conditions, employees represent only themselves and their personal interests.”
Therefore, by punishing them, the officers claim the city has violated their First Amendment rights to free speech. Each plaintiff is seeking $2 million in damages plus attorney costs.
On June 1, 2019, BuzzFeed News released an investigative report titled “Cops Across The US Have Been Exposed Posting Racist And Violent Things On Facebook. Here’s The Proof.”
The media outlet teamed up with non-profit news organization InjusticeWatch to review thousands of Facebook accounts of cops around the country. They found “officers endorsing violence against Muslims, women, and criminal defendants,” according to the investigation.
The media joined the nonprofit news organization InjusticeWatch to review police officers Facebook accounts across the country. As a result of the investigation, they found officers supporting violence against Muslims, women and criminal defendants.”
The report had implications all over the country, including here in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Police Department removed 72 officers from the streets. Some of them were downgraded while others were fired.
Among the nine plaintiffs are current Philadelphia police officers and some who say they were fired or forced to resign because of the scandal. Their names are as follows:Christian Fenico, Thomas Young, Thomas Gack, Edward McCammitt, Tanya Grandizo, Anthony Anzideo, Anthony Acquaviva, Kristine Amato and Joseph Przepiorka.
The city does not comment on pending litigation.