Philadelphia police officer investigated over controversial tattoo cleared

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia police officer involved an investigation over his tattoo has been cleared by Internal Affairs, Action News has learned.

Last September, a photo of Officer Ian Hans Lichtermann taken by a member of the Philadelphia Coalition for Real Justice showed a tattoo of an eagle with the word "Fatherland" over it. The group claimed the image was a Nazi insignia.

The Coalition demanded the officer be fired.

Police took the matter under review.

"At no point in time does the department condone anything that may be interpreted as offensive, interpreted as hateful, or as being discriminatory in any form or fashion," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Stanford said in September.

Philadelphia FOP President John McNesby said the officer, who is of German heritage, was just trying to show his pride in the German-American Police Association, which he says uses a similar symbol.

"He's a military veteran, he's a father, he's a great cop. On the other arm he has a tattoo of an American flag. Is that offensive? If he had a black panther on his chest or his back or his leg, would that be offensive?" McNesby said.

McNesby said Officer Lichtermann, a 17-year veteran of the department, had an exemplary record with the department, with no disciplinary action ever taken against him.

"And now, he's being crucified, his family is being crucified. He had to change his phone number over a tattoo that he's had for a decade? Stop it. Come on," McNesby said in September.
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