Oakland police launch investigation into allegations of objectionable social media use by officers

OAKLAND, CA: DECEMBER 31: Oakland police investigate after a laptop robbery at a Starbucks in the Montclair District of Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. The suspect got into a vehicle which drove off with the victim trying to chase it, and

An investigation has been launched into allegations of involvement by some of its officers on "social media accounts that contain objectionable or offensive content," the Oakland Police Department announced Friday. 

"It has come to the attention of the Oakland Police Department that there are allegations that current employees may have been involved on social media accounts that contain objectionable or offensive content," Oakland police officials said in a statement. "OPD will not allow any members to engage in or support this type of content and will root out this conduct anywhere within the department." 

The announcement was made two days after a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., shutting down Congress, which was holding hearings on the certification of the Electoral College vote following November's election of former Vice President Joe Biden as president. 

Trump, who allegedly incited the mob to enter the Capitol, has had his accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms suspended as use of social media by those involved, including those in law enforcement at agencies nationwide, comes under scrutiny. 

"Hate speech and offensive conduct will not be tolerated; there are clear policies and guidelines that govern this behavior," the department said.  

The department said it has started "an immediate comprehensive investigation" to determine if any current personnel have made objectionable comments or supportive expressions of comments by others that violated policies, the city's code of conduct, or any applicable laws. 

"The trust of our community is our highest priority. We will not tolerate any breach of that trust from any member of our department," interim Police Chief Susan Manheimer said in a statement. 

Officials said any employee violating its rules will be held accountable and is subject to discipline, including termination. 

"Whether on or off duty, employees of OPD are prohibited from affiliating with subversive groups, and they are prohibited from doing anything that brings disrepute to the department and erodes the public's trust," officials said.