This weekend, BuzzFeed News and Injustice Watch published The Plain View Project, a deep, user friendly exploration into the Facebook activity of police officers in eight U.S. cities. That list included Dallas, where the team pored over the accounts of 751 current Dallas PD officers. Here, as in the other seven cities, they discovered a “powerful subculture within American law enforcement—one that appears to disparage and dehumanize racial, ethnic, and religious minorities and celebrate the use of unlawful violence and discrimination.”
The result from the researchers’ digging is a massive database of archived Facebook activity over 18 months, tied to officer names, badge numbers, and salaries. In Dallas, an officer named Booker Smith posted a link to a homicide at a Dollar General in Dallas and commented, “Just another savage that needs to be exterminated.” He wrote, “Execute all involved” on a different post about a homicide with multiple suspects and often referred to criminals as “animals” in posts. After Buzzfeed contacted DPD, a spokesperson said the activity had been passed up the ladder for review.
The Plain View Project targeted posts that “could undermine public trust in policing,” and it found reason to include activity from 104 current DPD officers—about 14 percent of the 751 officers researchers found on Facebook. There are also posts from 69 retired officers. I’ve reached out to DPD and will update here if and when I hear back.
But in other words, Smith’s is hardly the only activity that raises eyebrows. A quick scroll through the Dallas activity reveals one meme in which a woman is getting sprayed with pepper spray that reads, “participation trophies now in liquid form,” and another announcing that “statistics show that criminals commit less crime after they’ve been shot.” There are racial undertones to a number of posts. Officers celebrated stories about the beatings of people of color caught in the act of committing crimes. One officer posted a story with the headline, “White Cop Kidnapped and Murdered by Black Men- Media Silent!” There’s plenty more to check out. Scroll through the project’s Dallas findings here.