PHILADELPHIA – An attorney and inspector with the city of Philadelphia Police Department whose Facebook comment was included in an activist group's social media database and labeled as endorsing "violence, racism and bigotry" is suing a California woman, the nonprofit associated with the database and others.
According to the Oct. 16 filing in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff D F Pace filed suit against Emily Baker-White, the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Plain View Project and Injustice Watch alleging defamation and false light.
The suit states the defendants maintain an internet database described as containing posts by local police officers who appear to endorse violence, racism and bigotry toward African-Americans and Muslims.
The suit states the defendants shared a social media post to the Plain View Project database that was created by Anthony Pfettscher discussing Otto Warmbier's arrest in North Korea in 2016. In the post, Pace had commented "insightful point," according to the suit. Pace alleges the defendants determined he met their criteria "of content that 'undermine(s) public trust and confidence in police" based solely on that comment.
"By including plaintiff's Facebook comment and name in their database, defendants implicated plaintiff Pace as an officer who 'meet(s) [their] criterion' of being a police officer who apparently 'endorse(s) violence, racism and bigotry' toward 'Muslims, 'black men' and/or women,' whose biases thus revealed in the posts 'could erode' and 'undermine public trust and confidence in police' and 'warrant an official investigation,' who in his official duties as a police officer (indeed, an Inspector) carried the taint of these biases and acted in manner consistent with them, all of which are false, defamatory and cast him in a false light before the public," Pace states in his suit.
Pace alleges he has never made a post that denigrates those based on color, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and "detests such attitudes."
Pace seeks punitive damages and compensation and is represented by James Beasley Jr. and Louis Tumolo of The Beasley Firm LLC in Philadelphia.
The case was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Oct. 16.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 2:19-cv-04827