NBCPhiladelphia.com- Nefertiti Jaquez
A 19th district police officer is being investigated for posting a racist rant on his Facebook page. Now, his commanding officer is speaking out. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez reports.
Philadelphia Police Captain Joseph Bologna is speaking out days after NBC10 reported that one of the officers on his force in the 19th District posted some controversial comments on social media.
"One officer does not reflect-- one knucklehead statement does not reflect -- the folks that show up here everyday," said Bologna.
This is the Facebook post at the center of the controversy, posted by Officer Michael Smerker last weekend.
"I don't understand why all black teenagers in West Philly (and I assume all over Philly as well) are instantly handed an access card (welfare card) and a cell phone with minutes as soon as they are teenagers,” he wrote. “It doesn't make sense!!! It gives them reason not to get a job. All it's doing is breeding laziness. Welfare was never supposed to be a career choice. I don't care to have my hard earned tax money given away to healthy teenagers who can get a job like I did when I was a teen."
Smerker took the status down three hours after posting it after receiving some negative feedback from other Facebook users. However, a screenshot was taken and NBC10 obtained a copy.
Captain Bologna says this is a setback after spending years trying to build community relations in the 19th District.
"Anything that can even be perceived the wrong way puts us back a step," said Bologna. "We were investigating this before it even came out. That's the important thing here, we are policing ourselves."
Internal affairs is investigating Smerker's online activities. NBC10 tried to talk with him, but Smerker is on medical leave.