The Philadelphia Police Department reinstated an officer fired in 2019 for Facebook posts saying, among other things, that refugees should “starve.”
the The Philadelphia investigator reported this officer Christian Fenico was reinstated with a full salary backlog after an arbitrator in a grievance filed with the police union ruled that Fenico’s social media posts did not prevent him from being a valuable officer . Fenico’s posts were among hundreds of Philadelphia officers posted in June 2019 in a public database of the Plain View Project, which also examined seven other police departments.
The reinstatement and arbitration hearings come as the city grapples with public perception of its officers after several violent altercations with protesters protesting police brutality and racist police practices following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Department a year ago.
The database led to massive discipline of officers in Philadelphia, 15 of whom were forced to quit their jobs and 193 officers in total were convicted of violating department policy, officials said. The vast majority received “command-level discipline”, with the most severe penalty of a five-day suspension for posting what database defenders called racist, sexist or discriminatory Facebook posts.
Meanwhile, the referee confirmed the dismissal of another officer, Daniel Farrelly, saying his online activity was “dehumanizing” – including posts that mocked the protesters and used the word “animals” in reference to Black.
Union representatives declined to comment when contacted by The Inquirer.
The arbitration process is also underway for at least five other agents, including one who was suspended for 30 days and recently reached a preliminary settlement agreement with the city, the Inquirer reported. These should be heard by the end of July.
Some of the disciplined officers have also filed two civil lawsuits in recent months. One of those lawsuits claiming officers had been discriminated against for holding right-wing views was dismissed last month after procedural flaws, but a second lawsuit is still pending.