Top NYPD brass announced Thursday morning they are disciplining 17 cops who made offensive and racist comments on Facebook following last year's West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights.
Last September, officers assigned to cover the parade on Labor Day bitterly complained on a Facebook page called "No More West Indian Day Detail." About 250 comments in all were made on the page, including relatively benign grumblings about having to work on Labor Day to more extreme comments calling parade attendees "savages" and "animals."
"Let them kill each other," wrote someone who matched a cop's name.
"I say have the parade one more year and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out," was another.
Some comments were written by names that matched registered New York City police officers and others were left anonymously. Some cops claimed they didn't write the comments and their Facebook accounts had been hijacked.
An Internal Affairs investigation into the matter was launched last September, and investigators found that 20 people who posted in the group matched the names of current NYPD officers.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne announced Thursday that 17 cops in total will be punished for leaving the remarks.
Most of the cops received low levels of punishment, but four officers face more severe punishment: They will stand department trials on misconduct charges.
"It seems the NYPD took this seriously, and I'm glad they did that," said Councilman Jumaane Williams, who goes to the parade every year to celebrate his parents' Grenadian heritage.
"It was disheartening (to read those comments) but was it necessarily surprising?," Williams asked. "The more surprising part was the officers felt this could be said in such an open forum. And my biggest concern is that some policies in the NYPD seem to bear out what the officers said — in stop and frisk, they seem to stop anyone who is black or Latino. If you have a policy like that, and then police officers say things like this, it's hard not to be concerned."
Colorful parade, but tinged by violence
The West Indian Day Parade attracts hundreds of thousands of people to Brooklyn every year, and will again be held this upcoming Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.
The colorful parade celebrates the food, music and culture of the Caribbean, but the parade has had difficulty shedding a reputation that it can be violent.
It has been marked by violence in year's past and requires a heavy police presence every year, which many parade attendees say they are glad to have.
Last year, three shootings occurred in connection with the parade.