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