PPD Confirms: Menacing Messages to Occupy Philly From a Cop
A PPD spokesperson confirmed that Mike Sidebotham, the name associated with a Facebook profile that has been posting a series of menacing messages to Occupy Philly’s Facebook page, has been a Philadelphia police officer since 2008.
Police also confirmed the posts have triggered an investigation into the 26-year-old patrolman.
The strange posts include a photo of Martin Luther King, two fingers pointing toward the lens, with the text “pew pew pew pew take that, racism,” a note about prison rape to Occupiers arrested during the Comcast protest, and a photo of the pepper-spraying cop with a message: “5 o’clock is coming” in advance of Mayor Nutter’s deadline for Occupiers to clear off Dilworth Plaza.
Police would not confirm if Sidebotham has at any time been assigned to Occupy detail, but added that Dilworth Plaza is outside his regular area.
The issue at hand is whether or not Sidebotham’s Facebook posts violate Directive 119, which established “policy regarding use of social media and social networking by sworn and unsworn members of the Philadelphia Police Department.”
From Directive 119:
“This policy sets forth expectations of police department employees with respect to their use of social media and social networking, and the direct effect such use has upon the reputation, perception and interests of the Philadelphia Police Department
and its employees.” And: “It is … essential that each member accept his or her role as an ambassador of the department.”
“Employees who are off-duty, and using privately-owned property to engage in the personal use of social media, do not represent the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, or any official position maintained by either entity. Under such conditions, employees represent only themselves and their personal interests.”
Sidebotham deleted his Facebook account Saturday evening, after PW first wrote about his history of trolling the page. He has not responded to requests for comment.