Considering how police officers have shown they have no problem being blatantly racist in public Facebook posts, it should come as no surprise that a private Facebook group for Pennsylvania cops was found to be filled with racist, transphobic, and just straight up hateful posts.
According to the Associated Press, a Facebook group called the “Pittsburgh Area Police Breakroom,” was filled with both active duty and retired cops who spent a large portion of the last year posting anti-Black Lives Matter takes and criticisms of officers and police chiefs who kneeled with protesters. While the group initially was mostly just posts about training techniques, dedications to fallen officers, and work memes, it took a decidedly more far-right turn as time progressed.
The death of George Floyd was a turning point last year that made a significant chunk of the country finally go “Hey, maybe cops shouldn’t kill unarmed people for no reason.” Unable to handle this base level of criticism, the posts in the Facebook group obviously became more Trumpian in nature, disparaging Democrats a.k.a “demoncrats” (I always love conservatives failed attempts at creativity), Black Lives Matter, and actively targeting anyone who was perceived to be “anti-cop.”
In June, Tim Huschak, a corporal at the Borough of Lincoln Police Department, posted a screenshot of an Allegheny County 911 dispatcher’s Facebook page indicating that the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” used by law enforcement supporters is not equivalent to the slogan “Black Lives Matter” because policing is a choice, not a fact of birth. He wrote: “Many negative posts on police. And we should trust her with our lives???”
Some angry members rallied quickly and organized phone calls to her supervisor demanding she be fired.
“Multiple officers should call and report it. Remember NO JUSTICE NO PEACE LOL,” West Mifflin Borough Police Department officer Tommy Trieu responded under his Facebook name, Tommy Bear.
Trieu was one of two West Mifflin officers seen in a video last year restraining a 15-year-old Black girl after responding to a call about a fight on a school bus. Activists called for firing the officers, but borough officials said the recording started after a student hit an officer and that they “did nothing wrong.”
Man, imagine being so weak that someone going “you choose to be a cop, you don’t choose to be Black,” actually fucks your day up? Whoever would have guessed that the “facts don’t care about your feelings” crowd doesn’t actually care about facts?
Trieu defended his comments to AP with some old bullshit about how cops should be able to file complaints against dispatchers if they feared for their safety. If you’re that scared over a Facebook post, maybe you don’t need a job that involves a gun.
Given this rhetoric, it should come as no surprise that Black officers were bullied and made to feel unwelcome in the Facebook group that boasts over 2,200 members from Allegheny County and its surrounding areas. Each department within Allegheny County has its own set of rules when it comes to social media posts, with some of the smaller departments not even having a social media policy in place.
While it’s clear that many of the officers’ posts violated the rules against posting anything that can be construed as racist or disparaging to any one group, it’s not clear what disciplinary measures have been taken against the officers who work in the departments with the policy in place.
If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that cops don’t see a problem with how they do things. If they’re truly that mad about being seen as racist, sexist, purveyors of violence, they should simply try not being racist, sexist, violent people. It’d be a much more productive endeavor than catching continuous L’s over racist Facebook posts.