At some point, people—and public servants in particular—are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they can’t just post any old thing they want to social media without putting their jobs in jeopardy. This goes especially for white professionals who can’t seem to restrain themselves from putting their racism on full display. A Brooklyn court officer is learning this lesson the hard way after being suspended without pay over the weekend for posting an image of former President Barack Obama hanging from a noose on her Facebook page.
NBC 4 reports that the image that got Sergeant Terri Pinto Napolitano suspended for 30 days showed Obama being lynched along with a caption that reads, “we will not yield ... your day is coming traitor.” Alongside that image was an image of what appeared to be Hillary Clinton standing in front of a noose with a caption that reads, “it’s not over till the fat lady swings.”
According to one of Napolitano’s coworkers, who wishes to remain anonymous, this was only the most recent incident in a pattern of racist behavior. The fellow court officer told NBC 4 that Napolitano is a known racist who would commonly “harass minority defendants inside her courtroom when she was bored by yelling loudly at them for talking, disrupting court proceedings while speaking to Caucasian defendants in a completely different demeanor.”
The unnamed officer said that Napolitano should be fired for her latest infraction and called her a “disgrace to the many of us who respect the public and the integrity of our job and respect the criminal justice system and process.”
Chief Judge of the Courts Janet DiFiore is having none of Napolitano’s racist shenanigans either. In a formal letter, DiFiore called Napolitano’s behavior “abhorrent” and “sickening.”
“This conduct is abhorrent, by anyone, at any time, and under any circumstances,” she wrote. “But at this critical moment in our history—when our nation is reeling from the death of George Floyd and its aftermath—it is a sickening and unpardonable offense against every colleague in our court system as well as the vast and diverse public that we serve.”
Napolitano—who has deleted her Facebook page—has also been denounced by the court officer’s union and the court’s Inspector General says that further disciplinary action is being considered.
The last thing black people and people of color need is bigots in positions of power. Her racist shit-post aside, If what has been said about Napolitano is true, a 30-day suspension isn’t enough. She shouldn’t be going back to work at all.