Washington DC police caught sending offensive messages

Blue and racist email from the Boys in Blue

Washington DC cops have been censored for sending racist, indecent and homophobic messages over police car radio systems.

According to a report in the Washington Post, top police official in Washington have confirmed an inquiry into "hundreds of emails" sent over the last year.

The repugnant messages came to light during an internal review to discover how police car computers were used. As many as 10 per cent of the city's 3,600 boys in blue have been implicated in sending offensive messages.

Some of the emails featured threats couched in racist terms and Police internal affairs departments will look into this and whether there is any relation between the contents of emails and any complaints filed by the public against particular police officers. It's possible that defence lawyer will subpoena email sent by officers during a particular criminal trial.

Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams was quoted by the paper as describing the actions of officers in sending the messages as "stupid and offensive".

There are widespread calls from the Mayor and others for tough disciplinary measures, not excluding dismissals, and concerns that police actions might give rise to lawsuits against the city.

The messages will reportedly be shared between the police and officials of FBI and Justice Department to see whether any civil rights violations have taken place.

Officer Paul Regan is quoted by the Washington Post as saying "A lot of officers talk about their escapades the night before and gossip about the chief. When [the computers] came out I knew that this was going to happen. A lot of this stuff is what got the officers in Los Angles in trouble with the Rodney King case."

Police officers are to be reminded about conditions for use of police computers and advised that is "zero tolerance for offensive and hateful speech" by Washington police officers. ®

External Links

Washington Post story
Post on a cypherpunk mailing list about listening into police data traffic

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