The New York Times has obtained a 76-page document made up of mostly racist comments that were posted on a Facebook group created for New York City Police Department officers to vent about being assigned to patrol Brooklyn's West Indian Day Parade. They called people "animals" and "savages." One comment said, "Drop a bomb and wipe them all out."
The Times compared the names of 150 who commented on the Facebook group called "No More West Indian Day Detail" and found more than 60 percent matched the names of police officers. Before the group was deleted, it grew to some 1,200 members. The group also included fire department members.
Officers were upset they had to work the West Indian Day Parade because it's seen violent outbursts in the past few years. The Times describes the event as "an annual multiday event that unfolds over the Labor Day weekend and that has been marred by episodes of violence, including deaths of paradegoers."
The entire parade weekend is not riddled with violence, and some NYPD officers look forward to bumping and grinding with paradegoers. Video to prove it is on the right.
Still, some officers wanted nothing to do with the parade.
"I say have the parade one more year and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out," wrote a commenter who the Times later confirmed was a NYPD officer.
But some of the people who posted comments seemed emboldened by Facebook's freewheeling atmosphere. "Let them kill each other," wrote one of the Facebook members who posted comments under a name that matched that of a police officer.
"Filth," wrote a commenter who identified himself as Nick Virgilio, another participant whose name matched that of a police officer. "It's not racist if it's true," yet another wrote.
The officers were at times spurred on by civilian supporters and other city workers, including members of the Fire Department, an analysis indicated.
It is impossible to say with certainty whether those quoted are the people they claim to be. But a comparison by The Times of the names of some of the more than 150 people who posted comments on the page with city employee listings showed that more than 60 percent matched the names of police officers, and Mr. Browne did not deny that they were officers. Of course, some people do circumvent Facebook's rule on identification.
It was impossible to determine the racial breakdown of the officers who were posting comments, but at least one of the participants said that most of them seemed not to be minorities.
Paul J. Browne, the police department's Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, told the Times that he learned of the Facebook group from a reporter and would refer the issue to the department's Internal Affairs Bureau.
It is not clear if they will investigate, but some of the comments appeared to have broken Police Department rules barring officers from "discourteous or disrespectful remarks" about race or ethnicity."