Black Officers Sue Philly PD Over Web Site

Published July 27, 2009

Police are investigating threats directed at the president of a group of Black Philadelphia police officers.

Guardian Civic League President Rochelle Bilal became the target of threats after her organization filed a lawsuit over an Internet discussion forum. The league maintains in its lawsuit filed last week that hundreds of racist messages were posted on domelights.com and that the Web site created a hostile work environment for Black officers. On Thursday night, the site had a notice saying all its services were suspended.

After the Guardian Civic League filed suit against the site last week, several postings on the site attacked Bilal.

One said she "deserves to be gang-raped," The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Bilal has been assigned officers to guard her while the investigation is conducted. Lt. Frank Venore, a police spokesman, said Thursday that police need to "determine if the threat requires any further police action."

 "If the person making the threat is identified, they will face the same action criminally" whether it's an officer or a civilian, Vanore told The Inquirer.

Domelights has long been reviled by black officers, who view it as a forum for racist rants, according to the lawsuit. White officers have posted to Domelights while on duty, creating a hostile work environment for black officers, the suit said.

The Police Department and the city have blocked access to Domelights on their computers since the suit was filed.

The Guardian Civic League also is seeking a ban on officers posting racially offensive material, even on their own time.

The sergeant who founded the site said in a posting shortly after the suit was filed that he disavows any racist or sexist comments on the site and that he never administers Domelights while on duty.

Written by Associated Press

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