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Phoenix police investigating 'embarrassing and disturbing' posts in online database

The Plain View Project archives posts from current and former police officers "that appeared to endorse violence and racism."

The Phoenix police chief said Monday the department's professional standards bureau will look into offensive posts by its police officers archived in an online database.

The Plain View Project archived Facebook posts from current and former police officers "that appeared to endorse violence and racism." The database includes posts from officers in various cities, including Phoenix.

Many of the posts call black people "thugs," mock people in the country illegally and transgender people, refer to Muslims as "savages," appear to advocate violence against suspects and joke about refusing emergency assistance to people who criticize the police.

Several of the posts from Phoenix officers joke about a protester hit in the groin with pepper balls after a demonstration against a Trump rally in downtown Phoenix in 2017 escalated into a chaotic scene. 

One officer whose posts were included in the database has already been cleared of misconduct, according to a statement from Phoenix police spokesperson Vince Lewis on Monday. The statement goes on to say the other posts by Phoenix officers in the database will be investigated. 

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams released a statement a few hours later reiterating that the posts would be investigated.

"I became aware of the entire website today which alleges misconduct by current and former Phoenix Police officers. The language and terminology used in the posts are embarrassing and disturbing. They completely contradict how the Phoenix Police Department should speak about the members of our community or others. Nor are these posts in keeping with our mission and values as city of Phoenix employees. I have high expectations for the men and women who work with me. When potential misconduct is brought to my attention, it is immediately addressed. I have asked our Professional Standards Bureau to look further into this matter."