Internal Affairs investigation has found a Philadelphia officer did not violate department policy by having a tattoo on his left arm that a citizen thought depicted a Nazi symbol.
Photos of Officer Ian Hans Lichterman and his tattoos spread across social media late last summer, prompting a citizen to send it to the Mayor who also condemned the tattoo.
The Internal Affairs investigation cleared Lichterman of any violations, closing the case in December, police said. They did not respond to follow-up questions inquiring whether any specific determinations were made about the tattoos.
Photos of the tattoos, posted to Facebook by Evan Parish Matthews, showed a German eagle beneath the word “Fatherland” on Lichterman’s left arm. The post indicated the photos were taken on July 26, 2016 at Philadelphia’s #BlackResistanceMarch during the Democratic National Convention.
As our Editor pointed out last year, “The Eagle has been used to represent Germany for hundreds of years. Just like the American Eagle, there are more variations of the iconography than you can count. This particular one is from the German-American police association. Officer Lichtermann has pride in his heritage and his country. The Eagle tattoo with the word “Fatherland” is an obvious homage to his ethnicity but why believe the truth when you can label our America Heroes a “Nazi.”
It also seems that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who was quick to call the tattoo “disturbing” and “incredibly offensive,” has doubled down on his assessment despite evidence that the tattoo has nothing to do with Nazis. He released a statement that voiced the exact same reaction.
His statement reads:
“I am deeply offended by the tattoo and I think it is completely inappropriate for any law enforcement officer to have such a tattoo given its impact on those they are sworn to protect and serve. Since the investigation determined that the officer couldn’t be dismissed because PPD does not have a policy against tattoos, we will draft such a policy so this cannot happen again.
Additionally, PPD will continue to conduct thorough background checks and psych tests for new recruits. We also work to foster a culture of acceptance, diversity and inclusion throughout the police academy and the force.
That spirit has been on display the past several weeks as officers have protected thousands of individuals’ right to protest and done so with respect and with dignity, and not a single arrest. I am confident that the actions of this officer is not reflective of our entire force.”
So here we have a Marine Corps Veteran and current Philadelphia Police Officer Ian Hans Lichtermann with an unblemished record of public service to the citizens of Philadelphia with fifteen years of service continue to be questioned like a suspect by a politician. Ironic isn’t it that this “Nazi” has been working the streets of Philadelphia without issue but that means nothing in our current climate. We have one last suggestion for the Mayor or any citizens that gets “offended” for just about everything these days. Why not talk with the officer and ask him questions about the tattoo?
Of course why do that when you can make up your own narrative.
The truth of this incident is this. We knew that Officer Ian Hans Lichtermann would be cleared on the day this incident came about when the citizen that “tweeted” it from 50 feet away without talking to the officer made it a big deal. We know that the Philadelphia Police Department puts some of their best and brightest officers in positions that Officer Lichtermann was in and we knew that he had never had any issues of treating citizens poorly.
But unfortunately, we do know this. Despite him being cleared, the Mayor’s continued statements combined with internet fame will negatively impact this officer for the rest of his life. If he ever applies for another job or do just about anything else in public, one quick internet search gives an impression of him that flat out isn’t true.
Congratulations Mayor Kenney on ruining the reputation of a public servant for no other reason than trying to placate a fringe movement of cop haters. We know your kind and we will continue to call out weak leaders that when the time comes to do the right thing, they run to their safe place and protect the only one they truly care about…them.
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