- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Philadelphia police officer whose tattoo provoked outrage from the mayor’s office and spurred a months-long internal probe has been cleared of wrongdoing, local media reported Tuesday.

Officer Ian Lichterman landed in hot water last September after a photograph began circulating online showing the Philly bike cop sporting a tattoo of a spread-winged eagle beneath the word “Fatherland,” evoking imagery commonly associated with Nazi Germany.

Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement at the time calling the officer’s tattoo “incredibly offensive,” and the Philadelphia Police Department launched an internal probe soon after the photo went viral. Because the PPD lacks an official tattoo policy, however, investigators ultimately determined last month that the officer hadn’t violated any department regulations and subsequently closed its case against him, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.

“There was nothing there to investigate,” John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, told the Philly Voice this week. “He had a tattoo. There was no policy. He had it for years. He had no discipline. There was no issue with it.”

Nonetheless, questions and concerns surrounding the officer’s ink continue to linger. Police officials did not immediately respond when asked if the investigation resulted in any specific determinations being made about his tattoo, the Philly Voice reported, and the mayor’s office issued a statement Tuesday blasting the department’s decision and calling for local law enforcement to institute a tattoo policy barring offensive ink.

“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,” Mr. Kenney said Tuesday. “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.”

Mr. McNesby, the police union president, told Philly.com that the department is reviewing the mayor’s suggestion but has yet to seriously consider any proposed policy changes.

“I know they’re looking at one,” he said. “They haven’t really showed it to us, yet. Coming into the department now, they are screening a little bit more stricter. When they have something finalized, we’ll look at it. We’ll either give a yay or nay.”

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