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Philadelphia - Mayor: Cop's Tattoo 'Offensive,' Especially To Nazi Victims

Published on: September 1, 2016 09:26 PM
By: AP
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Philadelphia - The Philadelphia Police Department on Thursday announced an internal review after a photograph surfaced online of an officer with a tattoo that the mayor called “incredibly offensive,” especially to veterans and victims of the Nazis.

A tattoo on the uniformed officer’s forearm shows a spread-winged eagle under the word “Fatherland.”

Police don’t have a tattoo policy but said in a statement they don’t condone “anything that can be interpreted as offensive, hateful or discriminatory in any form.” They said they will review the matter quickly to see if a policy is needed.

“We must ensure that all constitutional rights are adhered to while at the same time ensuring public safety and public trust aren’t negatively impacted,” the statement read.

Mayor Jim Kenney, however, condemned the image he saw of the tattoo.

“I find it incredibly offensive, and I know many others do as well,” he said in a statement. “This image is particularly offensive to our WWII veterans who fought valiantly to free Europe from Nazi Germany, as well as all victims of Nazi atrocities. In this environment — in which open, honest dialogue between citizens and police is paramount — we need to be building trust, not offering messages or displaying images that destroy trust.”

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The officer’s last name is visible on his uniform, but police wouldn’t confirm his full name. A call to a man believed to be the officer was not answered.

The Anti-Defamation League said the images have been associated with some neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups but cautioned they do not necessarily mean the officer shares such ideologies. It said it couldn’t reach any conclusion about the officer after its own initial review of the tattoos and other information available online about the officer.

The photograph first surfaced on social media Thursday in a Facebook post by Evan Matthews. The Philadelphia resident said he took the picture on July 26 while participating in a protest by the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice held during the Democratic National Convention.

Matthews said his initial reaction was “visceral” and that he questioned the officer about the tattoos, but that the officer did not respond.

The coalition frequently protests against the police department, accusing it of discriminatory practices. Organizer Erica Mines said Friday the organization is calling for the officer to be fired, for an inquiry into his cases, and an investigation into whether the department fosters an environment condoning white supremacy.

The president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, John McNesby, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the tattoo was “not a big deal.”

“I see people with panthers on their arm. Doesn’t mean they are black panthers. People with crosses on arms doesn’t mean they dislike any other religion,” he told the newspaper.

Nancy Baron-Baer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that “it’s not definitive, as an eagle ... alone means he is or is not something.”

“One would hope that an individual in that position would understand the significance of what these symbols can mean, even if that’s not what they meant to him,” she said. “Those symbols, to many individuals within our community ... can have a very scary connotation and we don’t want our community members being afraid of police based on something they have inscribed on them.”

Baron-Baer said more education is needed among police and the community about the meaning of such symbols.



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Read Comments (3)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 01, 2016 at 10:47 PM Halavi Says:

In Columbus, Ohio, about ten years ago, an anti-semitic U-tube video was posted online by a female member of the Columbus police force; she and her sister posted that despicable video, with signs that "Jews are the problem". When the video was discovered and brought to the attention of the local Fraternal Order of Police, their idiotic reaction was "She is exercising her first amendment rights". It took a lot of involvement of city officials, and the local Jewish organizations, to have that cop terminated. I was amazed at the reaction of the FOP, since B'Nai Brith would always bring food into all of the police stations on Christmas Eve, and were otherwise supportive of them. I'm afraid that in addition to hatred of certain minorities groups, an anti-semitic attitude is also prevalent in many police departments in the USA, especially in the NYPD. I remember when Meir Kahane was active in NYC, how the cops relished when they would physically beat him at demonstrations, and taunt other members of the JDL.. Some of the minority cops on the force in the NYPD today, are no different than the Irish and Italian ones were, vis-a-vis their attitude towards Jews, especially religious ones.

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 Sep 01, 2016 at 10:50 PM SandmanNY Says:

So - this sounds nice and noble, right? But step back and look at the bigger picture of where this little chip of an event fits into the new social mosaic. This is social engineering at work through the mouthpiece of the Associated Press. Classic Saul Alinsky/Obummer/HiLIARry/Soros retread ideas from their mentors. It's coming to a place where having an opinion, a view, a value, or a particular moral stand on something can get you painted as intolerant and hateful. Then you can be ostracized, vilified, and sidelined. In China, they'd send you off to be "reeducated" if you're not properly "PC".

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 Sep 02, 2016 at 09:43 AM Steinberg Says:

Reply to #2  
SandmanNY Says:

So - this sounds nice and noble, right? But step back and look at the bigger picture of where this little chip of an event fits into the new social mosaic. This is social engineering at work through the mouthpiece of the Associated Press. Classic Saul Alinsky/Obummer/HiLIARry/Soros retread ideas from their mentors. It's coming to a place where having an opinion, a view, a value, or a particular moral stand on something can get you painted as intolerant and hateful. Then you can be ostracized, vilified, and sidelined. In China, they'd send you off to be "reeducated" if you're not properly "PC".

Spot on. We are living in the land of judges and judgment. Words said in private or pictures not meant to be seen by others are made public and the self-righteous mob judges resulting in the loss of jobs, or basketball team or business, or whatever. We should look to ourselves and know that we would not want what we say or do in private to be exposed for all the world to judge

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