Dallas police have opened an internal affairs investigation into offensive comments allegedly made this week by several Dallas police officers supporting a photo showing a mock lynching scene of a man in blackface.
The president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas says he's received several screen grabs of Facebook comments, many of them saying the photo – allegedly taken in Russia earlier this month – was meant in good fun and shouldn't cause an international outrage.
Many black officers are outraged by the actions of their colleagues, according to some police leaders.
"I was highly offended, very offended, because it is a very despicable time in American history," said Lt. Thomas Glover, the president of the association and its 600 members.
"It turned the stomach of many of [my officers]," he added.
The photo was allegedly taken earlier this month in Russia at a costume party, according to multiple news reports. It depicts a man in blackface mockingly being lynched by his co-workers.
The original post was taken down but the photo lives on in screen shots and has been shared around the world.
"It has nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with what's right and what's wrong," Glover said. "It's indicative of what some people say is a pattern of politically incorrect behavior."
Glover said a Dallas police officer posted the photo on his personal Facebook account then defended the photo in a comments thread, saying that people who are upset are too sensitive.
"You just don't make jokes about someone black being hanged," Glover said. "It's no different than poking fun and 'liking' and making derogatory comments about a photo or a skit depicting a rape scene, or a Jewish Rabbi being led into a mock gas chamber or anything like that."
Glover said many black officers are deeply disturbed, and want the officers involved disciplined.
"You can not be a police officer with a bigoted attitude. Those days are over," he said.
Glover said that proper discipline may be anything from a written reprimand, to sensitivity training, to a suspension or even termination if internal affairs determines there's a long pattern of inappropriate behavior and comments.
Internal affairs opened its investigation into those social media comments Thursday night. Other Dallas police officers say that internal affairs investigations generally last anywhere from two to eight months.