When Police Go Rogue on Facebook by Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project

This post was shared with the CopBlock Network by a reader, via the CopBlock.org Submission Page. It was originally published by Ken Armstrong at themarshallproject.org.

Last week, Seattle police apologized for an incident in which a female officer arrested a 69-year-old man walking in the city with a golf club. She said he wielded the club as a weapon. He said it was simply a cane. Police video supported the man’s account.

But it was only after another discovery – made by a Seattle newspaper, The Stranger – that the police department removed the officer from street duty, assigning her to a desk.

The officer is white. The man she arrested with the golf club is black. Last year, the officer posted this on Facebook: “If you believe that blacks are NOT accusing white America for their problems then you are missing the point of the riots in Ferguson and the chronic black racism that far exceeds any white racism in this country. I am tired of black peoples paranoia that white people are out to get them. … I am tired of black people saying poor poor me …”

When Seattle’s police chief read those Facebook comments last week, she said she was “shocked and disappointed.”

Around the country, other chiefs can relate. So can other communities where officers – and sometimes, the police chiefs themselves – have posted Facebook messages that created controversy and sometimes led to suspensions or firings. Such episodes have played out on other social-media sites, of course. And, like the Internet itself, they extend beyond the United States. (In the United Kingdom, more than 150 officers have faced disciplinary action for bad Facebook behavior, including one constable who wrote: “Let’s not be so soft on these [worst expletive imaginable] out there.”)

But looking just at Facebook – and just at police in the United States – here’s a roundup of cases where officers have been accused of crossing a line when going online.

Marlin, Texas: A police sergeant was fired in August 2014 after posting this on Facebook: “The first day of the month! The day I absolutely LOVE going to the grocery store after putting in 120+ hours last month. I love being able to see how the useless lazy turd bags spend the hard earned money my working friends and I provided for them so they can sit of their lazy asses all month and drink the beer I am paying for. I especially love it in the summer so I can admire the thousands of dollars of ink they have adorning their unclean bodies as they smile at me with that mouth full of bling. Makes me want to help them take their groceries and help them load them into that Escalade with $4000 rims. I promise, if I ever snap and go on a killing spree, it will be in a supermarket on the first.” (Elsewhere in Texas, police have created Facebook dustups in Dallas, Emory, and Matagorda County.)

Jonesboro, Ark.: The same month that police sergeant was fired in Texas, the police chief in Jonesboro, Ark., resigned. The chief, on Facebook, called a newspaper reporter a “pro-dope smoking, law license revoked, left wing liberal.” He also called her “smelly,” and wrote: “Dealing with ole Sunshine is like trying to pick up a dog turd by the ‘clean end.’” Jonesboro’s mayor handed the chief a 30-day suspension, but the chief quit before serving it. (And he wasn’t the only police chief to resign last August over a Facebook post. The chief in Chickasha, Okla., did, too. Before that, so did the police chief in Williamston, S.C.)

Bainbridge Island, Wash.: On this island in the Puget Sound, police in 2010 shot and killed a mentally ill man, in a case that prompted a civil rights lawsuit and a $1 million verdict against the city. A week after the shooting, the officer who opened fire received a Facebook message from a Los Angeles cop, who flippantly referred to the shooting as “combat qual.” The Bainbridge officer responded, on Facebook, with: “no sweat here … bad guy should have listened a little better.” (A year later, a different Bainbridge officer was reprimanded for going on Facebook and writing of a crackdown on traffic offenses: “We rained terror on the island and no one was taken alive.”)

Portsmouth, Va.: In 2011, a police officer shot and killed an intoxicated, unarmed cook, a citizen of Kazakhstan who was struck 11 times. Afterward, the officer’s Facebook page – captured by The Virginian-Pilot before disappearing from the web – became the subject of an internal review. Among other postings, he described a photo of a box of handguns as his “box of VENGEANCE!” and wrote: “would be better if i was dirtying them instead of cleaning them!”

Boston, Mass.: Last year, a police officer for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority posted on Facebook: “Farther’s (sic) Day, the most confusing day in Roxbury.” The president of the Boston NAACP told television station WCVB, “It’s a sad commentary on what this gentleman thinks is going on in communities of color.” Afterward, the officer was stripped of his role as a police-academy drill instructor.

Indianapolis, Ind.: Television station WTHR aired an investigative report in 2009 about an Indiana state trooper’s Facebook posts. “I pick up trash for a living,” the trooper wrote. He boasted of drinking heavily and posted a photo in which a fellow police officer pointed a .357 Magnum at the trooper’s head. By matching Facebook’s timestamps with state patrol employment records, the station discovered that the trooper sometimes posted while on duty. The trooper subsequently resigned.

Albuquerque, N.M.: That trooper certainly wasn’t the only police officer to refer to people as garbage. In 2011, an Albuquerque police officer shot a man in the back after a traffic stop, killing him. Soon after, local media reported that the officer listed his job on Facebook as “human waste disposal.” No charges were filed against the officer for the shooting, but he did get a four-day suspension for his Facebook post.

New York City: In 2009, a New York City police officer described his Facebook status as “watching ‘Training Day’ to brush up on proper police procedure.” A few weeks later, that post was used to attack the officer’s credibility when a defendant he had arrested went to trial. (In “Training Day,” there is little, if anything, proper about the corrupt narcotics detective played by Denzel Washington.) Two years later, more than a dozen NYPD officers posted offensive comments about the West Indian Day Parade, leading to eventual discipline.

Monroe, La.: Responding to the protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a police officer in Monroe, La., went on Facebook and wrote: “Ive got an idea on how to clear the streets in Ferguson Missouri. Lets have a crop duster fly over and drop job applications.” The officer, who was subsequently placed on leave, also wrote: “I’m surprised the beauty salon didn’t have armed guards. That ‘good hair’ is expensive. Thats ghetto gold.” Police elsewhere also made Facebook posts about Ferguson that stirred controversy. That happened, among other places, in Elgin, Ill.;Glendale, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; Kansas City; and Seattle.

Volusia, Fla.: Before Michael Brown’s death, there was the controversy surrounding Trayvon Martin’s. In 2013, on the day George Zimmerman was acquitted in Martin’s death, a Volusia County Beach Safety officer posted on Facebook: “Another thug gone. Pull up your pants and be respectful. Bye bye thug r.i.p.” The following month, the officer was fired.

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About Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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49 Responses to “When Police Go Rogue on Facebook by Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project”

  1. Common Sense February 18, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    As always, even the 1st Amendment has its limitations.

    The one from LA is funny. Job applications.

    • t February 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

      CS:
      It’s the “only my rights matter” approach of the CBer

      • Common Sense February 18, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

        Yep

        • Glenn McBride February 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

          And at what point did Cop Block advocate stripping anyone, let alone cops, of their right to free speech? If anyone, we should encourage cops to run their mouth, as doing so helps show the general public what bottom-feeding social parasites most cops are. You two are proof positive of that fact as well.

    • Inferiorly Bred Elf February 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      Well, it has always. I mean, you can’t watch or at least possess, make, or distribute certain genre of video. Or go to certain site.

  2. pickle February 18, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I find myself agreeing with the Marlin Texas cheif.

    • shaun h February 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

      I Find myself believing you to be a cop sucking troll

      • pickle February 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

        Seriously? Just because I’m racist and I happen to agree with the racism of a cop doesn’t make me a cop sucker. It makes me a racist. Dumbass. Have you read ANY of my other comments? I haven’t read any of yours, but I leaning towards you being a jumpy-to-conclusiony f-tard. I am a troll, though. You got that part right. Bravo. But hey, if you think it’s OK for grill wearing, tatto displayin’, welfare sucking douch bags to ride the system and take your tax money without even trying to find a job because gobment money be so much sweeter then you GO, boy.

        • shaun h February 19, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

          So long as this broken economic system creates fewer haves than have nots and so long as my labor does more to line the pockets of people who in turn use that money to fund politicians who promote policy which is against my interest,than it does to line my own pockets, I am not going to judge people who are a drag on that failed economic system, because by doing so, they are helping to bring it down.

          • pickle February 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

            But you will judge me for one sentence. That’s SO much better.

          • shaun h February 19, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

            I should have not judged you as a cop apologist (sucker), the issues I have with your comment are more along the lines of your apparent support for the economic status quo (cops being the security guards for the ruling elite in that status quo) and your prejudicial opinions on race.

          • Gregory Smith February 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

            stfu hitler supporter.

        • Godflesh February 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

          If you are a racist, then you are a pathetic piece of shit.

          • Inferiorly Bred Elf February 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

            You take thing too personally!

      • Inferiorly Bred Elf February 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

        You swallow giant clitoris. Rebel not like normal sex.

        • Gregory Smith February 20, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

          says the mental midget with a god complex.

  3. JC February 18, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    I actually have to agree with some of what the author is saying. I agree that the minority populations are blaming “everyone else” for their problems. The rest of the article becomes racist and of no interest.

    • Pw4x3r February 19, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

      So you make a racist comment and then you call this a racist article of no interest….
      Here’s your daily FUCK YOU, mother fucker. Why don’t you get the fuck out of this country eh? Or better, show us your KKK tattoo and stop hiding like a little bitch.

      • JC February 19, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

        Post where I made a racist comment dumbass. You read this article and you tell me it isn’t racist. I’ve never made a racist comment on this site ever. Go take a shower. You smell like a bums nutsack.

        • Gregory Smith February 20, 2015 at 2:58 am #

          how do you know what a bums nutsack smells like? sucking alot of homeless dick?

          • JC February 20, 2015 at 9:46 am #

            Your family told me.

          • Gregory Smith February 20, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

            wow so immature, You can’t get me onother fronts so you goto trying to start a fight by using my family. Another fail troll.

  4. dufas_duck February 18, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

    Police thinking = “I’ll teach you about protesting police brutality..” as he and a few others beat their victim into mush.. alternately, “I’ll teach you to have respect for the police…” wham, bang, pow…………

    • guest February 18, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

      Are you talking about the victims who grew-up without fathers? It seems socialism doesn’t work, but they are more than happy to sell and use drugs while blaming society for their problems.

      • dufas_duck February 19, 2015 at 2:28 am #

        Nope…I was thinking about the police who claim that they are not brutal while they use brutality to beat some innocent person to teach them a lesson….and then there are people that think that fear and respect are the same thing..

        As far as using drugs and blaming others for their problems, there are a lot of people that use alcohol the same way. and it doesn’t matter what color their skin is…

      • Gregory Smith February 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

        that sounds like a response of a privileged, born with a silver spoon in their mouth republican. If someone chooses to use or sell drugs that is on them. no one is saying anyone is using their circumstances to complain about society other then the cops listed above and their statements. If they don’t like society that much in this country no one is keeping them here. They can leave whenever they want.

      • Seatired February 19, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

        Your time will come and you will have to answer for your sins.

  5. Megatron February 19, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    so no trouble for murder but 4 day suspension for a facebook post? wtf is wrong with america

  6. Mike Malcom February 19, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    I’m a big cop blocker. I fucking hate them. Most of these Facebook posts from them are absolutely correct. The black community has a large sect of lazy good for nothing hustlers, swindlers, and thieves. This is not racist, it is a fact. The problem with police brutality is when a cop sees a black person and mischaracterizes them as a nigger just because of the color of their skin. Now, this happens because, again, there are droves of less than human scum in the black community. I can show you just as many videos of monkeys acting like barbarian heathens as I can find police brutality videos. This, I don’t believe, gives them the right to act with violence on someone until that person has been afforded due process in a court of law, but posting obvious truths on Facebook should not be a fireable offense if calling a cop a faget bitch to his face and wishing his wife would get raped by a Gorilla is not an arrest able offense.

    • jtown February 19, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

      Making statements like that while claiming you aren’t racist just shows everybody what a stupid pile of shit you are. Please don’t ever breed.

      • brothervizlani February 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

        Actually, he was saying that police should not determine a person’s character by their race.

        Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

        • peoplearestupid February 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

          and being racist while doing it lmao

          • brothervizlani February 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

            If that is your opinion. I think you are wrong though.

    • Gregory Smith February 19, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

      wow look at that racism….what about the white trash communities? how about the the other races? Who the fuck cares?! You don’t have to like them. but to show so much disdain towards people because of their lifestyle is wrong, PERIOD! I don’t give a flaming faggots ass who the fuck you think you are. I don’t care what you stand for. You have no right to be such a negative racist prick bitch.

      • Inferiorly Bred Elf February 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

        Ya she do.

        • Gregory Smith February 20, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

          quit now while you are still only presenting yourself as your village’s idiot.

    • Inferiorly Bred Elf February 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

      Nigger es someone of Central or West African decent doesn’t matter if they are good citizen they es still Nigger.

      Sentence: My breast friend es Nigger she from USA but she still Nigger since her ancestor es DRC. It kinda remind me of my country but mine more foresty.

      Many African American are mixed (mulatto).

    • Dean Moriarty February 19, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

      Insulting a cop to his face is a crime.

    • Kim Preston February 20, 2015 at 5:09 am #

      There are just as many POS White drug, welfare, food stamp, alcohol and wife abusers out there. So don’t blow smoke up my ass dude. There are scumbags in every shape, form and color. I don’t spend my day worrying about them and using racial slurs to get my point across. You I will say by your comments fit the stereotype of a racist, but I am sure you are comfortable wearing that badge.

  7. martymarsh February 19, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    The clown in Seattle proved her own point, tired of all the complaining but she harasses this guy for nothing, lady you are the problem.

  8. brothervizlani February 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Okay, the Father’s Day joke and the crop duster full of job applications is pretty funny.

    • Godflesh February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      There’s absolutely nothing funny about humor that’s based off of generalizations and lacking the ability to critically think.

      • brothervizlani February 19, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

        To you, there is nothing funny about humor based off of generalizations.

  9. Anon February 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    She is tired of the black community saying poor poor me, what Im tired of is ignorant fascist pigs like this dumb bitch, they wouldnt be complaining if you werent giving them problems, I bet money if the old man was white she wouldnt be giving him any problems

  10. Lockmazter February 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    Aside from shooting the innocent, most of this stuff is spot-on. I have no problem with a lot of the stuff they posted. Racist?……maybe. Dead-on accurate? ABSOLUTELY !!!

  11. jeremy February 19, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    When you have a story of something similar but never recieved a reply from copblock when you sent it into them.

  12. Kim Preston February 20, 2015 at 5:01 am #

    The problem is that once these sadistic losers resign or get fired, they go to another department and get hired. Legislations should be passed once you are fired for misconduct as a cop you can never wear a badge again.

  13. n4zhg February 20, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    If you really want to clean up police agencies, start matching department and badge numbers to user names on policeone.com

  14. Chaffleski February 21, 2015 at 2:42 am #

    We need a repository of cops’ twitter, facebook and other online accounts and people to monitor them.

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