One veteran police officer will soon be fired from the Philadelphia Police Department for his use of a racial epithet while talking to a police radio room employee. The white cop, with more than three decades on his badge, was captured in an audio clip saying “f–k n–gers.”
On Wednesday, July 20, a spokesperson for the PPD, Sgt. Eric Gripp, said the officer had been issued a 30 days notice of termination on July 5.
The department withheld the officer’s name this week, but the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reports its police sources have revealed the voice on the taping as Lt. Anthony McFadden, noting he previously was assigned to the department’s Special Victims Unit.
It only took 18 seconds for McFadden, a 32-year PPD veteran, to throw his career into the Schuylkill River.
On Wednesday, June 22, McFadden was captured on an audio clip talking to a female call taker who was in the police radio room, the Inquirer reports. The call taker apparently is receiving information about a 911 call.
It is unclear what transpired before the expletive was used, but it seems that he was trying to locate a person or an address, said an earlier report.
“Yeah, 516,” the lieutenant said, giving the number of the address. “I think he lives in a …”
The 911 operator interrupts and asks, “Osborne Street?”
“Yes,” McFadden confirmed.
“It’s a dead cell phone, hold on,” shares the call taker.
“F–k n–gers,” he snapped after pausing for a second.
The call was made on a department private line and was not broadcast over the public PPD radio channels.
Shortly afterward, the clip was circulated throughout the department and leaked and circulated on social media.
The audio was brought up the next day at a City Council meeting.
Councilmember Cherelle Parker, an African-American, told the group of elected politicians she had received text messages from her constituents who heard about the call.
“The arrogance that it takes to do something like that, the disregard for humanity, and the willingness to embrace that kind of language as second nature, is something that we should continue to have zero tolerance for,” said Parker.
This comes only a few years after the department was lambasted for social media posts made by some of the officers.
In 2019, 343 officers were investigated for their social media activity, dozens were disciplined, and 15 officers were terminated after a review revealed racist and/or bigoted posts were published on cops’ personal Facebook pages.
These posts were documented and logged by social justice advocates called the Plain View Project. Their goal with their exposé was to unpack police bias in Philadelphia.
The PPD’s reputation of being plagued by this bias has come up yet again.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw expressed disappointment in the bigoted conduct, stating she expects officers to embrace a higher standard of respect for all people, civilians, and within the department. In a statement, she shared how the acts “victimized” and “traumatized,” those also hired to serve the people of the city.
“This type of alleged conduct will not be tolerated under any circumstances and at any level in this department,” Outlaw said.
“These acts not only undermine the integrity of the PPD with our communities but also victimize and traumatize our employees,” she continued. “It is imperative that police officers be held to the highest standards in order to effectively carry out their duties, and those who engage in this behavior will be held accountable.”
McFadden’s words were also criticized and condemned by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5; the labor union represents the city’s police officers.
The Union President John McNesby stated, “This incident does not reflect the fact that our officers work hard every day to serve our diverse city with integrity and honor.”
Lt. McFadden has yet to release a statement.