The NYPD has taken disciplinary action against 17 police officers who made racist or offensive comments on Facebook about last year's West Indian Day Parade. Several officers referred to the parade detail as "ghetto training" and a "scheduled riot," and its participants as "animals," among other things.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the Times that four of the offending officers will face a departmental trial for "conduct prejudicial to the good order of the Police Department," where they could be subject to penalties as severe as termination. Six other officers received a "command discipline," which could result in the loss of as many as 10 vacation days, while seven others received the NYPD's lowest form of punishment, a written reprimand.
"Like all public employees, police officers have a First Amendment right to speak freely in their personal lives, even if that speech is offensive," the NYCLU's legal director Christopher Dunn told the paper. "What they do not get to do is be racists in their work lives, and the Police Department can and should discipline officers who are guilty of that."
Despite last year's gunshots, "daggering," and racist Facebook comments, Browne tells the Post that he does not anticipate any memos or policy changes before this year's parade, which is scheduled for September 1st.
“We have, in the police academy, training on issues of conduct unbecoming a police officer and you’re expected to act appropriately on and off-duty,” Browne said. “We have instruction along those lines but nothing specific to the parade.”