About the Project

In the summer of 2016, a team of attorneys in Philadelphia learned that numerous local police officers had posted content on Facebook that appeared to endorse violence, racism and bigotry. In some of these posts, officers commented that apprehended suspects—often black men— “should be dead” or “should have more lumps on his head.” In other Facebook conversations, officers advocated shooting looters on sight and using cars to run over protestors. Numerous posts deemed Islam “a cult, not a religion” and referred to Muslims as “savages” and “goat-humpers.” And, in still others, officers appeared to joke about beating and raping women.

This discovery inspired the creation of the Plain View Project (PVP), a research project that has identified thousands of Facebook posts and comments by current and former police officers. We believe that these statements could erode civilian trust and confidence in police, and we hope police departments will investigate and address them immediately.


The Plain View Project, established in the fall of 2017, obtained published rosters of police officers employed by eight jurisdictions across the United States. PVP then searched Facebook for the officers’ names and made a list profiles that appeared to belong to them. Then, they searched within each profile for verification that the user was in fact the officer named on the rosters.

PVP used a number of verification process to confirm that a profile was maintained by an identified police officer. Some users reported specific police departments as their employers; others posted pictures of themselves in uniform. Some discussed making arrests or performing other police duties. When a PVP researcher obtained verification and confirmation for a profile, the researcher captured the screen with the verifying information and added it to PVP’s files.

PVP then compiled a list of “verified” Facebook profiles of police officers for each jurisdiction. They reviewed each public post and comment made by the more than 3500 verified accounts, and assessed whether these posts or comments could undermine public trust and confidence in police. The database available on this website includes images of more than 5000 posts and comments that we believe meet this criterion. On this site, visitors can find posts and comments through a searchable database organized by officer name, rank, badge number, and jurisdiction.

All of the posts and comments that PVP captured were published on Facebook for any member of the public with a Facebook account to see. We nonetheless have redacted the names and images of faces of anyone other than the particular police officer making statements that meet PVP’s criterion. Individuals often include friends and family in their profile pictures; we have redacted those images, so some officers’ profile pictures are unavailable to view.  

Metadata Sourcing

Each post in this database is linked to a set of metadata. We have collected this metadata from open source police documents, public records requests, and public Facebook posts. 

From police departments and open source documentation, we gathered information about police officers’ title, salary, badge number, and employment status (current or former). In some cases, police departments declined to give us this information; accordingly, we have more information for some jurisdictions than others. Please note that this information is current only as of the date it was provided to us. A list of our sources is provided below.

From Facebook, we gathered the date that each post was made, the date that each post was screen-captured, a link to the facebook profile that made the post, and a link to any shared source content (article, video, etc.). Many of these links no longer work. Links to facebook profiles will not work, or will not show the data we screenshot, if a user has deleted facebook or changed their privacy settings since the date of screenshotting. Links to source content from other websites will not work if the source website is no longer active. [1]

Texas Tribune Government Salary Explorer.

Title and Salary of Dallas Police Officers.

Public Records Request, Dallas Police Department

Employment Status and Badge Numbers of Dallas Police Officers

Philadelphia Inquirer Data Hub

Title, Employment Status, Salary of Philadelphia Police Officers

Public Records Request, Philadelphia Police Department

Badge Numbers of Philadelphia Police Officers

City of Phoenix Open Data Hub

Title, Employment Status, and Salary of Phoenix Police Officers

St. Louis Today Graphics Feature: Payrolls and Salaries

Title, Employment Status, Salary of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers

Public Records Request, Lake County, FL Sheriff’s Office

Title, Employment Status, Badge Numbers of Lake County Sheriff Dept. Officers

Public Records Request, Denison, TX Police Department

Title, Employment Status, Badge Numbers of Denison, TX Police Officers

Public Records Request, Twin Falls, ID Police Department

Title, Employment Status, Badge Numbers of Twin Falls, ID Police Officers

Public Records Request, York, PA Police Department

Title, Employment Status, Badge Numbers of York, PA Police Officers

Unfulfilled Requests

Public Records Request, Phoenix Police Department

Data Requested: Badge Numbers of Phoenix Police Officers
Statement of Refusal, made 11/01/2018: “If a list of this nature exists, it would not be produced because there is not a foreseeable public benefit that would outweigh privacy issues or misuse of public resources.”

Public Records Request, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Data Requested: Badge Numbers of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
Statement of Refusal, made 11/19/2018: “The DSN numbers (badge numbers) are closed under 610.021(13).” [2]


[1] Many of the source websites in our data have gone offline during the tenure of this project. At this time, we have not comprehensively investigated these sites. However, here is a sampling of recently-removed websites whose content was shared by police officers in our data set: americannews.com, worldnewss.com, truthfeednews.com, buzzfeedusa.com, supremepatriot.com, freepatriot.org, theuspatriot.com, freedomdaily.com, constitutionrising.com, libertyfirstnews.com, americanjournalismreview.com, americancolumn.com, americanoverlook.com, tothedeathmedia.com, toprightnews.com, proudcons.com, mrconservative.com. We intend to conduct further research into this source content.

[2] Section 610.021(13) of the Missouri Revised Statutes, in relevant part, permits the government to close public records that relate to “[i]ndividually identifiable personnel records, performance ratings or records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment, except that this exemption shall not apply to the names, positions, salaries, and lengths of service of officers and employees of public agencies once they are employed as such…”

Contact Us

The Plain View Project is a Project of Injustice Watch.

For media inquiries and public speaking requests, please email [email protected].

For general inquiries, use [email protected].

Address snail-mail to:

Plain View Project
PO Box #641224
San Francisco, CA 94164
Ph: (215) 278-9563

Privacy Policy

Revised: March 21, 2019

Your information privacy is extremely important to us. We have prepared this Privacy Policy to explain how we collect, use, protect, and disclose information and data we collect when you use the Plain View Project website and database (the “Site”). The Site is provided by the Plain View Project, a Project of Injustice Watch (“we” “our” “us”).


1. Information We Collect and How We Use It

2. Information Sharing

We will not share information collected from you through the Site with third parties, except as described as below:

3. Cookies, Tracking and Response to Do-Not-Track Signals

Google Analytics. We use Google Analytics on the Site to collect Usage Data, to analyze how users use the Site. Google Analytics collects your IP address, and uses cookies (small text files placed on your computer to identify your computer and web browser) to track your usage of this site. Google Analytics collects information such as how often users visit this site, what pages they visit when they do so, and what other sites they used prior to coming to this site. Google Analytics does not collect your name or other identifying information. It does plant a permanent cookie on your web browser, to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit this site. 

Google may track your online activities over time and across different web sites. Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Use and the Google Privacy Policy. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser.

This Website does not respond to web browser “do not track” signals.

4. Privacy Policy Changes

We may change this Privacy Policy from time to time. If we decide to change this Privacy Policy, we will inform you by posting the revised Privacy Policy on the Site. Those changes will go into effect on the “Revised” date shown in the revised Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the Site or Services, you are consenting to the revised Privacy Policy