Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has restricted the Web site domelights.com from workplace computers, but an organization of black officers wants the department to go further, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Guardian Civic League yesterday asked for a court order that not only blocks the site from department computers, but that also bans police officers from posting racially offensive material – even on their own time – and forces the site’s founder to remove any offensive postings.
The civic league has sued the department, the Web site, and its founder, an active-duty police sergeant, charging that the site contains hostile, racist material. Civic league President Rochelle Bilal said yesterday that the Web site and its content are symptomatic of a police department with longstanding race problems. “The police department, from its inception, has been inherently racist,” she said. Ramsey, who is black, restricted the Web site last week, after the class-action lawsuit was filed. Domelights.com, a popular destination for police, firefighters, and the media, provides forums for discussing crime news, police gossip, and other topics. The posts are often ribald, and racially sensitive issues are broached frequently.