I am listed as the Editor on my website site, The First Street Journal, not because I have been trying to conceal my identity — after all, my real name is in the sidebar as it refers to my Twitter comments — but because, before I retired, I thought it better to not have people doing a Google search of my professional life and connecting me with my employer. Some of my opinions are less than politically correct and it would have been unfair of me to possibly cost my employers business because someone didn’t like my political positions.
Stacey Matthews wrote pseudononymously for years, as Sister Toldjah, before some cretins were attempting to out her real name, hoping, one supposes, to cause her problems with her employer; Miss Matthews, knowing that she was about to be exposed, simply outed herself in advance. She still uses the pseudonym as a paid writer on RedState, but writes under her real name on Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion and with a newspaper in her native Tarheel State.
Porter Good writes the blog The Pirate’s Cove under the pseudonym William Teach, and while he reveals his real name on his about me page, you won’t find it on his main articles. He separates his political views with the statement, “All posts here are my views. None represent my employer. If ye can prove me wrong, so be it,” posted in the far-right sidebar of his site.
Well, I no longer have any worries in that regard . . . but it looks like some Philadelphia police officers do. From The Washington Post:
By Reis Thebault | July 18, 2019 | 8:48 PM
The Philadelphia Police Department will fire 13 officers who paired endorsements of violence with racism and homophobia in a slew of derogatory Facebook posts unearthed by an advocacy group, the city’s police commissioner said Thursday.
The officers, one of whom was a sergeant, were among the 72 removed from street duty and placed on administrative leave in June, when the department announced its sweeping investigation into social media activity published by the nonprofit Plain View Project. The group examined Facebook pages of 3,500 current and former officers at eight departments across the country, and its findings spurred internal investigations from Phoenix to Lake County, Fla.
In Philadelphia, the Plain View Project identified some 3,100 offensive or potentially offensive posts from 328 active-duty police officers. Of that number, the most offensive were placed on leave while a department-hired law firm probed the matter, Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference. In addition to the officers that will be dismissed, four others will be suspended for a month.
Their conduct, Ross said, “demonstrates the officers have little or no regard for their positions as police officers.”
“I continue to be very disappointed and angered by these posts, many of which violate basic human decency,” Ross said. “We need to move past this ridiculous hate that has consumed this country and has done so for centuries.”
The most egregious posts, he said, included Islamophobic cries such as “death to Islam,” references to African Americans as “thugs,” homophobic slurs, advocating violence against trans people and generally encouraging police brutality.
There’s much more at the original. While I would have preferred to cite The Philadelphia Inquirer, their articles are hidden behind a paywall.¹
The officers being suspended pending firing allegedly made statements on social media which are contrary to the mission of their employer, and did not do things which would have kept their opinions unrelated to their identity as police officers. The Philadelphia Police Department, being a public employer, could not tolerate what was found and identified to individual officers.
But that Big Brother is alive and well in the City of Brotherly Love is indicated by this from the article:
The department will also purchase or develop software that will allow officials to “data mine” officers’ social media accounts and flag hateful or harmful posts.
If you are a Philly cop, you’d better delete your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts now, because your employer is going to search everything you’ve ever posted and see if they can bust you for something. One wonders how long it will be before most employers, including government agencies, will start doing things like this.
Whether it was my caution in how my name, which was out in public, wasn’t somehow a problem for my employers, or just pure dumb luck, I’m now safely retired. The First Amendment guarantees that the government cannot prohibit us from speaking, but does not protect us from the consequences of what we say. Thirteen Philadelphia Police Officers are finding that out the hard way.
¹ – I pay for The Washington Post, which is why most of my citations come from it; I do not pay for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Please visit my Red State story archive for more of my articles.
My personal website, The First Street Journal, includes articles not necessarily in Red State’s paradigm.
You can follow me on Twitter.