I don’t know how many cops have to lose their jobs before they realize that maybe they shouldn’t be racist. Let alone be racist on Facebook. Apparently, four cops in San Jose, Calif. felt like learning that lesson the hard way.
CNN reports that four officers in the San Jose Police Department have been put on administrative leave while racist and anti-Muslim comments made in a private Facebook group are investigated. The group is allegedly composed of both current and former San Jose police officers. The comments were brought to light after screenshots were shared in a Medium article written by an anonymous source who claimed to be “the partner of an active law enforcement officer in a San Francisco Bay Area police department.”
Some of the comments shown in the article include an officer commenting “I say re-purpose the hijabs into nooses,” in response to an article about a Muslim woman getting her hijab removed by an officer in Los Angeles. Another comment made on a public post by one of the officers says “black lives really don’t matter.”
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia expressed outrage over the comments and warned that any officers who are found to have been involved could be fired.
“I have previously responded with discipline up to termination after an investigation into off duty online activity that runs counter to our standards of conduct,” Garcia said in a statement.
“While I have no control over what former employees post online, I can voice my outrage after hearing about these comments made online,” the police chief said. “Any current employee involved with bigoted activity online will promptly be investigated and held accountable to the fullest extent in my power. We have no place for this.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has called for an independent investigation into the matter. “I demand and expect a full investigation, and further expect that racist, anti-Muslim or menacing comments expressed by any current SJPD Officer will be met with termination,” Liccardo said.
The San Jose Police Officers Association has also come out against the officers involved in the group. Paul Kelly, the president of the union, released a video to YouTube denouncing the officers. “The news that I read today about members of our union and former members of our union participating in an online ring of hate makes me sick. I want to be crystal clear: There is no place in our police department or our union for racists or bigots, or for those that enable them by not speaking up.”
Kelly went on to say that the union will not offer financial assistance to any officer found to be a member of the Facebook group. “I’m saddened by this and will work every day to restore trust with our community. We can be and we are much better than this.” Kelly added.