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NY cop probed over photo describing naked African women as ‘Michelle Obama’s class reunion’

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The Irondequoit Police Department in New York has launched an internal investigation after learning that racist Facebook posts had been attributed to one of its officers.

“On Friday, we were made aware of an internet story that appears to portray several insensitive social media postings by a member of our Police Department,” Town Supervisor Adam Bello and Irondequoit Police Chief Richard Tantalo said in a joint statement provided to WHEC.

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“Given the offensive and racially insensitive nature of some of the material in question, we are conducting a full internal investigation to assess its authenticity,” the statement continued. “Until that investigation has concluded, the officer in question will be placed on administrative leave.”

The allegations came to light last week after police watchdog Davy Vara wrote on his blog that he had been tipped off about the Facebook posts.

Vara was able to capture a number of posts which he said had been made by investigator Jim Frascati.

One photo posted to Facebook showed a group of topless tribal African women holding sticks and dancing. The caption was titled, “Michelle Obama’s class reunion.”

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In another post, Frascati allegedly said that he wanted to arrest President Barack Obama for the terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

“Since I am in the field of solving crimes, here is my suggestion: Mr. Obama Look in the mirror and you solved the crime you piece of shot [SIC], yes, that idiot you see in the mirror is the person you’re looking for,” the post noted. “Grab yourself you piece of shit and turn yourself on {SIC], come to itondequoit, Love to process you personally.”

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The same person later wrote that “Facebook threatened to shut me out because of my messages. What happened to my first amendment? I guess some democrats don’t like my point of view.”

Other posts reportedly included racially-charged comments and photos that disparaged blacks and Latinos.

And according to Vara, Police Chief Tantalo’s wife also wrote comments on Facebook approving of Frascati’s behavior.

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“I find it extremely disturbing that an individual who has been entrusted to protect and serve ALL CITIZENS, irregardless of race, an individual who is permitted to carry a gun, an individual with the power to arrest, and in the case of investigator Frascati specifically, let me be clear here, he is an investigator, not just a patrol officer, meaning Irondequoit Police investigator Jim Frascati conducts investigations,” Vara wrote. “And in some investigations, the victim, the suspect, or in some cases both, are African-American, or Latino.”

The blogger predicted that nothing would come of the internal investigation other than a “paid vacation” for Frascati.

“You see, as many others, I know just how dirty, corrupt and racist the Irondequoit, NY Police Department is,” Vara said. “And, like many others, I don’t trust ANY law enforcement agency who “investigates” themselves… Especially when that police agency is “investigating” one of their own top cops.”

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For its part, the Irondequoit Police Department said that “generalizations made by the author of the story about the Irondequoit Police Department do not represent the character of the men and women who serve our community.”

But the department insisted that the city was taking the allegations “very seriously.”

Watch the video below from WHEC, broadcast March 23, 2015.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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