Closing @Domelights: Of course squelching racist police babble is wrong

art-domelights-com

I seem to recall seeing some petty ugly things written on Domeights, the online forum for the Philadelphia police community that was shut down by its owner after the threat of legal action.

Of course, I also remember a lot of mundane content, jokes, commentary and other arcane back-and-forth that is the staple of most Web message boards. But that’s not going to be the subject.

The site, which is operated by city police sergeant but is unaffiliated with the department, caught heat following another public display of racial infighting in one of the country’s largest municipal law enforcement agencies. The Guardian Civic League, an organized group of black police officers, is calling for the removal of the site and has named a host of individuals, in addition to the police force and the city in a law suit.

But as a police spokesman told CNN, it isn’t a city-ordained site and it appears as though comments weren’t posted during work time. Some question whether as many of the comments were made by cops as others allege.

Blocking the site from city and police computers makes plenty of sense, but I can’t say I’d understand taking down the site. Because I don’t believe shaming someone out of saying something really changes his mind.

This won’t stamp out racism any more than would chasing a white power group underground would. Fight against intolerance in the work place, but I struggle to support chasing down people for saying things from their homes on a Web community, even if I agree anonymously posting ugly, incendiary comments anywhere is hurtful, childish and, well, stupid.

This is part of a much bigger problem in the Philadelphia police force.

Now, of course, many of those who post to Domelights are probably knuckleheads at best or bigots at worst — especially those who threatened the leader of the black police group — but I don’t believe tackling a relatively low-traffic site would do nearly as much good as perhaps helping cops realize why some neighborhoods look the way they do.

Am I missing something?