A paramedic in Philadelphia has sparked outrage online after posting a picture on Instagram that shows two men pointing a gun at a police officer’s head.
Marcell Salters, a paramedic in West Philadelphia, posted the disturbing and controversial photo on Instagram with the caption, “Our real enemy. Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other and at the ones that’s legally killing innocents.”
Salters’ initial post immediately sparked controversy online, but he didn’t stop there. A second post, not long after the first, made clear Salters’ views that white cops are mostly corrupt and bear racial prejudices against black people.
“There are numerous crooked and corrupted cops (mostly white) & mostly they harass, beat or kill innocents (mostly blacks),” Salters wrote in a follow-up post.
Soon after, Salters’ original post went viral, and now, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has responded.
“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,” Nutter said in a statement. “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.”
Nutter went on to say that the post from Salters was “irresponsible” coming from a public servant.
“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,” Nutter continued. “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.”
The photo that Salters posted is reportedly a screenshot from a music video by two Brooklyn-based for their song “Hands Up."
It’s not clear if Salters will face discipline for his post on social media, but the paramedic has since taken to his Facebook page to apologize.
“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,” Salters wrote. “My intention was not to slander or hurt anyone or my brothers in blue. Again I am sorry.”