At least two sergeants with the Phoenix Police Department will be disciplined for sharing inflammatory Facebook posts vilifying Muslims and maligning others. But rather than face consequences for violating department policy, some officers are bemoaning their perceived lack of free speech, applying for jobs elsewhere, and even suing the city for trying to discipline them at all.
In June, hundreds of offensive Facebook posts from Phoenix police officers were made public by the Plain View Project, a database created by a team of Philadelphia attorneys in an effort to catalog bigotry and racism among police officers nationwide. Posts from Phoenix police officers and sergeants joking about Muslim people using goats as sex slaves, shooting former President Obama in the face, and killing protesters ignited backlash and prompted Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams to launch an internal investigation into the posts.
Now, Phoenix New Times has learned, the Phoenix Police Department has completed its investigation into those posts and has referred two sergeants to the Disciplinary Review Board. The department’s Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) determined Sergeants Juan Hernandez and Stefani McMichael-Gombar committed Class III and Class II violations respectively, according to notes on the PSB’s investigation included in a lawsuit Hernandez filed against the city on October 9.