A CITY PARAMEDIC found himself at the center of a firestorm yesterday after he allegedly posted an anti-cop message on social media, along with a photo of two men pointing guns at a police officer's head.
The message allegedly posted by a paramedic, identified by sources as Marcell Salters, read: "Our real enemy. Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other and at the ones that's legally killing innocents." It was first reported by Fox 29's Chris O'Connell Wednesday night, igniting the controversy. The photo Salters shared, which appeared on his Instagram, is a still from a music video for rapper Uncle Murda's song "Hands Up."
Mayor Nutter last night issued a statement in response to Salters' posting, saying, "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 continued that public servants are expected to "uphold the highest standards of behavior" and, whether on or off duty, "be mindful . . . that their behavior should not negatively reflect on our city or raise questions that may diminish citizen confidence."
He added that while the city respects employees' right to free speech, the post was "irresponsible" and "went far beyond standards of decency."
Nutter and Executive Chief Clifford Gilliam, a Fire Department spokesman, said the post is under investigation and that Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer will decide what discipline, if any, to dole out after the investigation.
Gilliam declined to give details on the department's social-media policy yesterday, only saying, "It's entailed, so we'll look at that, and once [the investigation is] done, we'll release everything."
Rumors circulating in the fire and police departments yesterday that Salters, who's been on the job since 2011, according to city records, would be fired over the post, could not be confirmed.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby said yesterday that he received calls from police officers who were "not happy" about Salters' post, but that the relationship between the departments is good.
"We'll move on from this and hopefully this guy will realize that he didn't do the brightest thing in the world, and it won't happen again," McNesby said.
In the wake of the controversy, Salters, who sources said works at Medic 23, located next-door to the 19th Police District at 61st and Thompson streets in West Philly, posted an apology on his Facebook page, writing in part, "i [sic] would like to deeply apologize to anyone i have offended. That post was out of anger of what is going on around the world (mike brown, eric garner & etc) & past experiences that i have had with the police. My intentions was [sic] not to slander or hurt anyone or my brothers in blue."