Washington State Sheriff's Captain Suspended Over Facebook Post Calling Black Teens 'Animals'

Illustration for article titled Washington State Sheriff's Captain Suspended Over Facebook Post Calling Black Teens 'Animals'
Photo: Noel V. Baebler (Shutterstock)

One thing about cops, they want to be treated like they’re someone special in society, but a lot of them don’t want to be held to a higher standard than the civilians they protect, serve and sometimes have to arrest.

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One sheriff’s captain in Washington state’s King County found out the hard way that it doesn’t always work that way after he got himself suspended without pay over a “very offensive and racist” Facebook post from last month regarding Black teens.

The Associated Press reports that Capt. Todd Miller was suspended for one day amid the discovery of the post in which he called Black teenagers a name racism-deniers will say isn’t a racist slur regardless of how well-known the history of its use against Black people is.

From AP:

Miller was found to have engaged in “conduct unbecoming” the Sheriff’s Office when he reposted what appeared to be a news article and photo of Black teens beating and stealing the sneakers of another teen on his Facebook page last year, with the comment: “Animals. This is what the inner city gives us these days.” The source of the post is unknown.

During an interview, sheriff’s Internal Affairs Unit Sgt. Tim Meyer noted “a historical context of the word ‘animal’ … especially with persons from the African American community” and wondered whether Miller ever considered it.

Miller insisted that his comment wasn’t racist and was intended to comment about the “socio-economic issues existing in American inner cities” that drive crime, according to internal investigation documents. He acknowledged, however, that others might see his comments differently.

I mean, we could also talk about how “inner city” is often wypipo code for “the place where all the scary negroes live,” but I guess we can let that one slide for now.

“As written your use of the word ‘animals’ is most reasonably interpreted to be a statement about the people involved, which includes their race,” King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht wrote, AP reports. “The use of that word ‘animals’ in connection with a post depicting black people sends the offensive message and negative reference to all black people whether living in the inner-city or not.”

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Now, a lot of people are going to be tempted to think: “But they were criminals; who TF cares if they get called ‘animals’?”

Those people probably aren’t Black people who have spent enough time in the inner city to know that Black kids don’t have to be doing anything wrong to be regarded as animals.

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Hopefully, Miller will simply take this L on the chin and do better if he’s going to be policing the streets.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

DISCUSSION

Miller insisted that his comment wasn’t racist and was intended to comment about the “socio-economic issues existing in American inner cities” that drive crime, according to internal investigation documents.

Yeah, okay. Sure. Funny how his post didn’t say anything remotely like that.