Attorney Cites Mistaken Identity, Misunderstanding in Dallas Police Social Media Controversy

The Dallas Police Department is in the process of interviewing more than two dozen officers about controversial social media posts. But so far, they're all still on the job.

Attorney Zach Horn said he represents the 'vast majority' of the officers involved. He said the number is somewhere between 25 and 35 under investigation, but that no one has been officially accused of violating policy yet.

NBC 5 reached out to the department to clarify the numbers, and they responded that 34 officers are under investigation.

The department is questioning their social media posts first exposed in a nationwide review by the Plain View Project. We're talking about memes and links to stories with comments on everything from religion to public execution.

"The public should know that the officers involved are some of Dallas's best and finest officers. Many of them have no disciplinary history whatsoever," Horn said.

The project's database labels 302 posts from active duty police in Dallas. Several of them are from a sergeant who wrote captions like "just another savage that needs to be exterminated" and "get a 12 gauge and don't stop shooting until nothing is in one piece."

While his are from the last three years, Horn said many are close to a decade old.

"We've had several posts that are more than nine or ten years old that predate any kind of social media policy," he said.

Horn said the department unveiled its social media policy in 2010 and updated it in 2014.

It reads in part:

"Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech and/or language does not impair working relationships of the Department, impede the performance of their duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the Department."

The policy goes on to warn officers that anything they post in a public forum is fair game for the department to access at any time.

Horn said his clients started getting letters on Friday, July 5 and are all in the process of being brought in for clarification. He said some of those interviews have turned up cases of mistaken identity or misunderstanding.

"So far, we've found quotes that are just clearly taken out of context and when context is given, it's obvious to any person that what we're reading is not offensive or a violation of any kind of social media policy."

He said he's confident many will be resolved soon.

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