ne of the arguments from conservatives on why there isn’t more diversity in police departments is that Black men and women don’t apply to be officers—which we all know is lie. What we also know is that Black police officers face more discrimination within their departments, unless you are David E. Clarke. Now, according to a report from NJ.com, a Black New Jersey trooper was wrongfully fired because of a post on social media. And he is calling his dismissal out as racism.
Nyron Harris has been a New Jersey state police officer since 2013. In effort to support his cousin’s clothing company, which includes “Black Excellence” shirts, he posted an image of Joanne Chesimard on a T-shirt. Chesimard is also known as Assata Shakur, who was convicted for the murder of a trooper in 1973. Shakur was convicted by an all-white jury and has always maintained her innocence. When she was found guilty, she famously said at her trial, “You abuse the law. I know it (the trial) was racist. I knew the judge was unfair. You have convicted a woman who had her hands in the air, who is innocent.” She escaped from prison in 1979, fleeing to Cuba where she was granted political asylum.
Once Harris’ fellow officers saw his social media post with the Assata Shakur image, he was fired. He said the Instagram post was an “honest mistake.” NJ.com reports, “The trooper’s attorney, George Daggett, claims Harris did not know it was Chesimard on the shirt, which contained a grid of nine portraits of prominent Black women with the words “Black Excellence” but did not identify them by name.” Harris has filed a lawsuit, arguing that white police officers have been “accused of far worse behavior” and were not fired. He also claims they have been building a case against him for months, saying, “Superiors drummed up minor infractions to justify turning him away from the statewide force when he was up for reenlistment last summer.”
White police officers have shot and killed unarmed men but weren’t fired. But a social media post gets you fired, which included an image of eight other Black women? Good luck to Nyron. Hopefully, he can find employment in another department that will respect his bravery to serve his community.