A paramedic from Philadelphia is in hot water after making a controversial post to his personal Instagram account. The paramedic, Marcell Salters, has since apologized for the post, stating it was posted out of anger. So what was the controversial post all about?
In the Instagram photo, you see two African American men pointing guns at the head of a white police officer. Though the photo itself was shocking, it was the caption that caused a stir in the community.
“Our real enemy. Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other and at the ones that’s legally killing innocents.”
If the first post containing the controversial image didn’t get his point across enough, Salters followed it with a second post that claims white cops are corrupt.
“There are numerous crooked and corrupted cops (mostly white) & mostly they harass, beat or kill innocents(mostly blacks).”
What made the post exceptionally startling to many was the fact that Salters works at Medic 23, which is located in the same building as the Philadelphia Police Department’s 19th Precinct. WMYT12 reports that Philadelphia Police Union Chief John McNesby found the post to be defaming.
“It’s despicable, and it defames police.”
McNesby went on to say that it is “a brotherhood” in regards to police departments and paramedics doing the same line of work. Therefore, McNesby thinks the whole post was “stupid.”
“It’s a brotherhood. We are out there doing the same work public safety and to do something like that is ridiculously stupid.”
Following the controversy regarding his post, Salters made a public apology to his Facebook account. The apology claims that the photo was the result of a moment of anger. His apology said, “That post was out of anger of what is going on around the world (Mike Brown, Eric Garner & etc.) & past experiences that I’ve had with police. My intention was not to slander or hurt anyone or my brothers in blue. Again I am sorry. [sic]”
It is unclear at this time what types of actions will be taken against Salters. Many feel that Salters should be punished for the abusive Instagram post. However, even police union chief McNesby doesn’t want to see him fired during the holidays and stupidity isn’t against the handbook. McNesby said, “You don’t want to see anybody lose their jobs especially around the holidays. But if the charge of stupidity was in their handbook, he’d probably get a life sentence.”
It has yet to be determined if the Instagram photo that many are calling racist is against paramedic policy or not. However, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter made a statement regarding the paramedic’s conduct.
“In the strongest possible terms, I condemn the behavior of a paramedic in the Philadelphia Fire Department who used social media to post a reprehensible message and photo that targeted police officers particularly at a time of emotional volatility and citizen protests in our nation in the wake of tragedies in Ferguson and New York City.”
“We Philadelphians expect our public servants to uphold the highest standards of behavior as they conduct the city’s business. City employees must always be mindful, whether on or off duty, that their behavior should not negatively reflect on our City or raise questions that may diminish citizen confidence because a city employee might be unable to carry out their duties as a result of his or her actions, expressions or behavior either directly or on social media.”
“We celebrate the exercise of our First Amendment right to expression, but there are clear limits, and this posting went far beyond standards of decency. Inflammatory speech or behavior like this is simply irresponsible and could potentially incite others to inappropriate actions.”
“When this matter came to our attention yesterday, we asked Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer to undertake a thorough investigation and invoke whatever discipline is warranted in this circumstance. Any decision regarding discipline will be made by the Fire Commissioner after the completion of this investigation.”
“I’m asking that all of us be particularly mindful of our actions and expressions regarding matters of public safety and our first responders. We need to respect them all, and they must respect our citizens as well.”
What do you think of the controversial Instagram photo? Should Salters be punished for the abusive anti-police tweet, or is he entitled to post his opinion publicly, regardless of his public safety position?