Hundreds of racist, violent Facebook posts linked to St. Louis police officers by national group

Over 400 racist, violent, or bigoted Facebook posts by what are said to be current or former St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers have been revealed by a Philadelphia organization that deep-searched accounts of thousands of officers in eight major police departments nationwide.

The St. Louis posts include multiple different images of the Confederate flag, racist posts accusing black people of perpetuating “white genocide,” numerous posts attacking Islam and Muslims, as well as posts and images celebrating violence by police against black protesters and civilians.

The posts were discovered by a group called the Plain View Project, launched by Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White using algorithms to look for words, phrases, and images that would indicate racism, violence or bigotry.  Project researchers scanned the Facebook accounts of 2,900 current police officers and 600 retired officers from eight departments nationwide, including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. In St. Louis, they found 416 posts that met the criteria.

One of the most prolific Facebook posters according to the group’s research is St. Louis police Sgt. Thomas Mabrey, whose Facebook page says he is “Supervisor in charge of patrol officers on the night watch” and claims he has been a St. Louis police officer since 1987.

His posts include numerous statements attacking Muslims and Islam, including a 2015 post saying “Pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam”; a 2016 post reading “’White privilege’ is a myth perpetrated by those who hate white people”; and another 2016 post saying “F the Muslim turd goat humpers.”  There is a  2014 post reading “Ah, another Black History Month…or should I say Annual Bash America Month”; and in a 2016 post he says, “If the KKK is a hate group, isn’t about time we start to be honest in America and admit that #BlackLivesMatter is a hate group as well?”

A poster going by the name “Ron Nighthawk” posted a flurry of white nationalist messages. The person behind the account is identified by the Plain View Project as Ronald E. Hasty. “Ron Nighthawk’s” Facebook profile says he is “In a domestic relationship with Kim Cole.” St. Louis police sources say that matches St. Louis police Sgt. Ron Hasty, who has been in a relationship with Department of Public Safety employee Kim Cole since 2003.

Hasty is in charge of the city’s anti-illegal dumping task force and regularly works with top City Hall officials to combat illegal dumping of trash and debris.

Hasty’s “Nighthawk” Facebook account includes a 2017 post reading, “The joke’s on the looters. On my way out of the shoe store, I put work boots in all the Air Jordan boxes.”

There is another 2017 post with video of demonstrators protesting the acquittal of then-police Officer Jason Stockley in the shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. The video of protesters being attacked by police has the caption, “I personally loved seeing this.” Another post asks how many “likes” he could get by posting a photo of the Confederate flag.

Roger Murphey, listed in the St. Louis City database as a police officer, posted video of demonstrators protesting Stockley’s acquittal.

He wrote, “So they’re protesting for a violent thug by breaking the law and Lying (Mayor) Lyda (Krewson) and kimmy g (St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner) are backing them.”

Another post, from retired St. Louis Detective Patti Rice in 2013, shows a poster of stick-figure police officers with batons beating a suspect on the ground, with the caption “The 3rd District: Protecting and Serving the S**t Out of You.”

Copies of the database were emailed to the Media Relations office for the St. Louis police, and to the office of Police Chief John Hayden.

A police spokesperson responded Monday, saying, “Forwarded it to internal affairs to see if it violates policies.  We will have nothing further.”

The mayor’s office has yet to comment on the material.

Detective Sergeant Heather Taylor, president of the African-American police organization The Ethical Society of Police, had plenty to say.

In response to texted inquiries, Taylor replied, “My thoughts are, fire them. Once it’s been proven you’re racist, you need to find another job.”

“They shouldn’t be unleashed to patrol a city that has over 54 percent minorities,” she continued. “Black, Hispanic, Muslim, and other minorities.  Cases they’re connected with, especially as the arresting officer, need further review because they obviously have questionable character.”

To see the Plain View project’s website, go here.

To look at the specific posts associated by the study with St. Louis police officers, go here.

This story has been updated to include the identity of “Ron Nighthawk” in the database and the response from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  

 

Charles Jaco

Author: Charles Jaco

Charles Jaco is a journalist and author. He has worked for NBC News, CNN, KMOX, KTRS, and Fox 2. He is best known for his coverage of the first Gulf War, and for his "legitimate rape" interview with Senate candidate Todd Akin. He is the winner of three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the author of four books.

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