Police Officer Fired Over Facebook Comments On Ferguson
An Illinois police officer was fired after officials determined a Facebook post “would undermine the credibility of the city or employees” which referenced the shooting of Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson cop.
Chicago police officer Jason A. Lenz has been fired, authorities say because of Facebook posts he allegedly made, according to ABC 7.
[su_center_ad]Lentz was a 17-year veteran of the Elgin Police Department. Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said in a statement that Lentz was fired on Monday after it was determined the officer engaged in conduct that “would undermine the credibility of the city or employees.”
Swoboda added, “Our relationship with the community is based upon trust. When an officer violates this trust, action must be taken.”
Deputy Police Chief Bill Wolf said he also violated the police department’s general rules and regulations and the police department’s relatively new policy about off-duty use of social media, which prohibit even private social media comments that would discredit the police department, according to The Courier-News.
Lentz allegedly wrote on Facebook that Missouri police officer Darren Wilson “did society a favor” when he shot and killed Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.
In another post, Lentz praised a parent’s decision to keep a child out of school on Veterans Day, noting schools are closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Lentz was previously warned to remove a post, however, he opted to just shorten his comment instead.
On Aug. 4, 2013, Lentz wrote his thoughts on political correctness.
“In order to maintain some sense of sanity and security I am going to post this warning to all. I do not believe in political correctness. I believe that the state of this nation is due to everyone being overly PC. What happened to having thick skin?” the post consisting of 3 paragraphs began.
Via the Courier:
An Aug. 2013 post berated police agencies for canceling a training session focused on Islam.
“… A police training class is cancelled because of protests from a Muslim civil liberties group. The class title ‘Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy.’ Hmmm …another way to thwart law enforcement efforts from learning about threats to our cities and nation,” the post states.
Another post in the past year was a photo of a parent letter to a school, indicating that a child would not attend school on Veterans Day until students attend school on Martin Luther King Day. Lentz remarked “Hell Yeah!!! I think next year I’ll keep the kids home.”
In another Ferguson-related post, on Aug. 17 Lentz posted a photo of Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson standing with a young black man, both of whom are making an “OK” sign with their hands. “He is also in the Chicago Tribune hugging protesters. Just awesome … appears to be the enemy within,” Lentz wrote. According to the Washington Post, the “OK” sign signifies the Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity Johnson was a member of in college.
Lentz’s previous suspensions — in which he was removed from duty for a set number of days without pay — occurred in 2001, 2012 and June.
In the 2001 incident, Lentz and four other officers were disciplined for disparaging comments made about a supervisor while using the Police Department’s in-car computer system. That led to a three-day suspension for Lentz. Other officers received various suspensions for that incident as well.
In 2012, he was given a one-day suspension for refusing to appear as a witness in court. In that case, Lentz told a supervisor and an assistant Kane County states attorney that as he was set to fly out for vacation the day he was needed in court, he would not attend.
Also considered in the 2012 suspension was an inappropriate email Lentz sent via his personal cell phone to the entire Police Department, records state.
Then, in March, Lentz is accused of sending an email on the city system with a message that included profanity, and posting an inappropriate message on his Facebook page “indicating the fabrication of police calls for service,” and participating in a messaging conversation on the city’s squad computers referencing the fabrication of police calls.
I wonder if he wore an ‘I am Darren Wilson” bracelet, too.
H/T: The incomparable @CarlaAkins with thanks. [su_csky_ad]