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Photo Appears To Show Philly Police Officer With Nazi Tattoo

The tattoo appears to show a prominent symbol of the Nazi party with the word "fatherland" above it.

Posted on September 1, 2016, at 6:54 p.m. ET

A Facebook post allegedly showing a Philadelphia Police Department officer with a Nazi tattoo has enraged people on social media.

Facebook: evan.p.matthews

The photo, which was posted by Evan Parish Matthews along with a lengthy statement on Wednesday afternoon, has been shared nearly 5,000 times and prompted an investigation by the police department's internal affairs division.

Matthews claims to have taken the photo on July 26 while at a black resistance march during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The photo appears to show a Nazi Party symbol that was popular in the 1920s, an eagle with spread wings, which later became Germany's symbol under Nazi rule.

facebook.com

The word "fatherland" appears above the eagle. Normally, the eagle is clutching a swastika, but it is unclear whether there is one on the arm of the police officer.

The Philly Voice reported that a man by the name of Ian Hans Lichterman is on Philadelphia's payroll, but police have not confirmed the identity of the individual.

Calls to the Philadelphia Police Department for comment and to confirm the identity of the police officer were not immediately returned. Attempts to reach a man by the name of Ian H. Lichterman who lives in Philadelphia were unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, Matthews posted to Facebook again, saying he had filed an official complaint with the police. "The mere decision to get this tattoo, and choose his profession, casts disperses any faith in Officer Lichtermann's ability to do his job in a non-oppressive/racist manner," he wrote.

Facebook: evan.p.matthews

He urged others to also file a complaint.

After the photos went viral, numerous online complaints were directed at the Philadelphia Police Department. The city's mayor, Jim Kenney, said an internal investigation would be launched.

Also new: statement from @PhillyMayor on the photo of the apparent Nazi tattoo worn by PPD officer

"The imagery on display in the tweet is disturbing. I find it incredibly offensive, and I know many others do as well. This image is particularly offensive to our WWII veterans who fought valiantly to free Europe from Nazi Germany, as well as all victims of Nazi atrocities. I understand that the PPD will launch an internal investigation, and that should run its course. In this environment — in which open, honest dialogue between citizens and police is paramount — we need to be building trust, not offering messages or displaying images that destroy trust," the mayor's statement reads.

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The uproar over the image also prompted the police department to release a statement stating it "does not have a specific policy regarding the wearing/displaying of tattoos."

The Philadelphia Police Department is aware of the image being displayed and circulated on social media. The post and photograph of the officer with tattoos displayed on his forearms was brought to our attention this morning, and we have forwarded it to internal affairs for review.

Currently, the department does not have a specific policy regarding the wearing /displaying of tattoos; however, the department will quickly move to assess and determine the appropriate policy moving forward.

The Department does not condone anything that can be interpreted as offensive, hateful or discriminatory in any form. This is a very sensitive topic for both the citizens that we serve as well as the officers providing service to the public. We must ensure that all constitutional rights are adhered to while at the same time ensuring public safety and public trust aren’t negatively impacted.

After being shown the photo, John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, was quoted by The Inquirer as saying, "I've seen it. It's an Eagle. Not a big deal."

"City not concerned neither are we," McNesby continued, adding, "I see people with panthers on their arm. Doesn't mean they are black panthers. People with crosses on arms doesn't mean they dislike any other religion."

But people on Twitter and Instagram disagreed.

"I've seen it. It's an Eagle. Not a big deal," Uh, I think we're more interested in the word "FATHERLAND" above it. https://t.co/pyGaHmPzNB

Garbage police union @FOPLodge5 thinks an officer sporting an actual Nazi tattoo is "no big deal." What the hell?

People more outraged about Kaepernick's socks than they are about a major city's police department rehiring a known neo-nazi. Lmao.

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