The online rants of alleged NYPD officers who called West Indian Day paradegoers "savages" and "animals" drew sharp rebuke from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday.
"It is unacceptable when police officers do it," Kelly said in a statement. "Despite the assertion of First Amendment rights in social media cases, the Police Department reserves the right to discipline behavior it determines unbecoming of a police officer if detrimental to the service, especially when it is disrespectful of communities that officers have taken an oath to protect."
Kelly hadn't commented about the postings on a Facebook page called, "No More West Indian Day Detail," when it was first publicized Monday by The New York Times.
He said Internal Affairs is now investigating, and that 20 "offensive comments" were associated with names matching actual cops.
The annual Brooklyn parade, held over Labor Day, has been criticized for attracting violence, including this year, when two cops were wounded by gunfire and three people were killed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that if the allegations against NYPD officers are true, "it's totally inappropriate."