The purported cops under fire for racist Facebook rants ripping West Indian Day Parade revelers found an unlikely ally Tuesday: The New York Civil Liberties Union.
But while defending their free speech rights, the group, like outraged pols across the city, said the postings–racist and otherwise–indicate a big problem for the NYPD if proven to be from cops.
In all, there were about 250 posts on the now-deleted “No More West Indian Day Detail” page. A third were from commenters who said they were city cops and about two dozen contained racist or inflammatory cracks.
“Like all public employees, cops have a First Amendment right to speak freely in their private lives, even when their speech is offensive,” NYCLU associate legal director Chris Dunn said.
But “they do not get to be racists on the job, and these postings indicate the department still has a lot to do to address race issues within its ranks,” he said.
The annual celebration–believed to be the largest parade in the city–was described as “Savage Day,” “this coconut parade” and “pure savagery” in the worst of the Facebook page posts.
The ones that weren’t racist bemoaned having to work on Labor Day–and what they saw as the general mayhem of the day.
Some cited shootings that have marred this past year’s and previous years’ events. There were three shootings with five people injured near the celebration on a weekend that saw lots more gunplay–and dozens of other victims not tied to the parade.
City politicians called for swift discipline and a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg.
“What concerns me is the racist language used here matches up with racist NYPD policies such as stop, question and frisk,” said City Council member Jumaane Williams, who was wrongfully arrested during the parade.
“I really hope these guys lose their jobs,” said Julie Beatle, a West Indian immigrant and Nostrand Ave. store owner. “Ninety-nine percent of the paradegoers are black. Who wants people that racist as a police officer?”