ST. LOUIS — The city’s top prosecutor said Wednesday that her office is reviewing a Philadelphia-based group’s database of racist and violent Facebook posts including some from city police officers.
Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said in a statement that she and her team “will assess this information to determine potential biases which may have influenced how police officers carried out their job of serving the people of the City of St. Louis in criminal cases.”
After finishing her review, she said, her office “will determine appropriate measures to protect the public.”
“Community confidence in local police is essential to law enforcement’s ability to reduce violent crime,” Gardner’s statement said.
The announcement follows the disclosure this week of the Plain View Project’s study of Facebook posts by current and former officers in St. Louis and seven other jurisdictions around the country. The group’s database surveyed more than 5,000 Facebook posts from 3,500 Facebook accounts of current and former officers in the eight departments.
Mayor Lyda Krewson on Monday called the reported Facebook posts “disturbing and unacceptable” and the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding that city police go through sensitivity training.
The research project began in 2017 and used rosters of police officers and then verified their Facebook accounts, according to the group’s website.
Forty-three accounts are tied to St. Louis police officers on the Plain View site, according to the project’s founder, Emily Baker-White. Twenty-two of those are tied to current police officers with the metropolitan police department, and 21 of them are former officers.
On Tuesday, city official announced that 60 to 70 sergeants would undergo sensitivity training related to the allegations.