PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Police Department is expected this week to begin the process of firing police officers whose racist or offensive Facebook posts were documented in an online database, according to three sources with knowledge of the situation.
The anticipated terminations would represent the most significant step in a scandal that has attracted national attention, and led to protests and public outcry.
The sources, who asked not to be identified discussing a pending matter, said as many as 13 officers were expected to be suspended with intent to dismiss beginning Friday. It was not immediately clear who the officers are or what they may have posted.
Commissioner Richard Ross said last month that 72 officers had been taken off street duty pending the department's investigation into the posts, and that he expected dozens to face internal consequences and at least several to be fired.
Ross did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Capt. Sekou Kinebrew, a police spokesperson, said only that the department's investigation into the scandal -- which encompasses more than 3,000 posts allegedly made by more than 300 officers -- is ongoing.
John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, declined to comment.
The database, published online June 1, was compiled by a group called the Plain View Project. It highlights Facebook posts or comments from officers in Philadelphia and seven other police departments: York, Pa.; Phoenix; Dallas; St. Louis; Twin Falls, Idaho; Denison, Texas; and Lake County, Fla.
The researchers behind the database -- led by lawyer Emily Baker-White, who formerly worked at the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia -- said they flagged posts allegedly made by officers that the researchers considered racist, supportive of violence, or otherwise offensive.
Their list included more than 500 current and retired Philadelphia officers, about 330 of whom were still on the force when the database went live.