Some Facebook users are demanding the firing — and sharing the address and phone number — of a Philadelphia police officer who unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade on Facebook against critics of the Frank Rizzo statue.
“Racist cop KRISTINE GILLESPIE-AMATO is currently employed by the Philadelphia Police Department and the citizens of Philadelphia demand her immediate removal from this position,” a post being shared on Facebook says. It continues: “The people of Philadelphia and their supporting contingents believe that Amato is unfit to ‘protect and serve,’ since she is spewing racist rhetoric about the people she is supposed to be protecting on the internet for everyone to read.
“Ideally, the Philadelphia Police Department would thoroughly investigate and punish their own, but since they seem unable to do that, we have done it for them.”
The post, shared this week, then lists a home address — although it was unclear whether it was a current one — and several phone numbers for her and her husband. One was disconnected, and one she answered Friday.
“My lawyer’s going to comment,” Gillespie-Amato said, declining to name the attorney. “My lawyer will be talking to whoever he has to.”
The Facebook post against Gillespie-Amato ends with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #ACAB, which stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” It was unclear who started the post. As of Friday afternoon, it had been shared less than 10 times.
A police spokesman declined to comment on the case Friday, other than to say Internal Affairs was investigating. Several people who were involved in the original Facebook thread said they filed complaints to police about Gillespie-Amato, who last week commented more than 40 times on the Facebook page “Vintage Philadelphia” after someone posted a link to a Philly.com article about the Rizzo statue’s expected removal.
Gillespie-Amato called one black woman “a ghetto ass with an education…. not,” appeared to threaten the woman for trying to report her comments to the Police Department, and mocked people for criticizing Rizzo, Philadelphia’s mayor from 1972 to 1980.
“Play with me with my job and see what happens,” Gillespie-Amato told Easter Flythe, 21, of Philadelphia, one of the people who filed a complaint. “And when you find out where I work you could come visit me.”
Gillespie-Amato also appeared to refer to Mayor Kenney — whose administration has said it plans to move the Rizzo statue — as a “ugly miser looking pu— mayor.” She told Flythe, “There’s probably not a man in your family that could hold Rizzo’s jock strap.”
As of Friday, the comments were no longer visible on the Vintage Philadelphia post. Gillespie-Amato’s Facebook page was also hidden from view. When she made the comments last Friday, her profile picture was of her in a police uniform.
In one of the comments, Gillespie-Amato tried to put the focus on black people and violent crime.
Rizzo’s statue outside the Municipal Services Building has stoked heated debate — often along racial lines. Opponents of Rizzo have demanded the statue be removed because they say he targeted communities of color. Supporters of Rizzo have said he was a hero who made the city safer.
City Councilwoman Helen Gym sparked a conversation about the statue with a tweet in August, calling for its removal after white supremacists and neo-Nazis clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., over the planned removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
All around the country, we're fighting to remove the monuments to slavery & racism. Philly, we have work to do. Take the Rizzo statue down.
— Helen Gym (@HelenGymAtLarge) August 14, 2017
Gillespie-Amato’s case is not the first time activists have brought attention to a Philadelphia police officer’s home address.
In August, a handful of Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated outside the home of Officer Ryan Pownall, who fatally shot a man in the back in North Philadelphia in June. John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, called the demonstrators a “pack of rabid animals.”
Kenney and others criticized McNesby’s comments. In September, Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Pownall had used “poor judgment” and would be fired.