New York police rip into West Indian Day parade-goers on Facebook

West Indian American Day parade in New York

New York police officers who voiced ugly complaints on Facebook about West Indians who attend an annual celebration in Brooklyn may be in trouble.

Both the New York Police Department and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office are investigating after a report in Tuesday's New York Times described a Facebook group called “No More West Indian Day Detail.” The report says the group was intended for “NYPD officers who are threatened by superiors and forced to be victims themselves by the violence of the West Indian Day massacre.”

Every Labor Day a massive celebration of Caribbean culture is held by West Indians in Brooklyn; thousands of people come out for a parade and other festivities. Some celebrations have been interrupted by violence.

For several days in September, New York police officers apparently took to Facebook to complain about having to patrol the parade; the online group grew to more than 1,200 members before it disappeared for unknown reasons.

The New York Times obtained 70 printed pages of comments, including some in which officers called the parade “a schedule riot” and referred to working it as “ghetto training.” Of the parade participants, one commented: “Let them kill each other”; one referred to them as “animals”; and another suggested: "I say have the parade one more year, and when they all gather drop a bomb and wipe them all out." 

The New York Times attempted to contact some of the commenters whose names matched those of New York police officers; one officer refused to comment and another denied he made the remarks associated with his name.

Benjamin Moore, a Brooklyn attorney, brought the group to the attention of a local court after he stumbled on it while researching a police officer who had arrested his client on gun charges after the parade. Moore, who read the comments aloud during trial, told the New York Times that they were “astounding” in their “reckless explicitness.”

Gothamist notes that none of this will come as any real shock to those familiar with the police message board NYPD Rant. On that site Tuesday, officers labeled parade participants as “savages who walked from the jungle 2 minutes ago.”

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and the NYPD told media outlets that the departments would be looking into who on the force might be linked to the Facebook page; the police department prohibits "discourteous or disrespectful" remarks about race and ethnicity.

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-- Geraldine Baum in New York

Photo: A costumed reveler dances in the streets of Brooklyn at the 2007 West Indian Day parade. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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