A police department in Louisiana was investigating one of its ranking officer’s social media posts that appeared to be both defending the cop directly involved in the death of an unarmed Black man in Minnesota while also relying on racial tropes to support his premise.
The Shreveport Police Department has placed Sgt. Brent Mason on departmental leave while it tries to get to the bottom of a Facebook post he wrote in reaction to the high-profile death of George Floyd, who was unarmed and handcuffed when now-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck and arguably killed him. However, one local reporter tweeted Thursday afternoon that Mason was “still reporting to work.”
The Facebook post, which has since been deleted but was preserved courtesy of a screenshot, seemed to excuse the so-called and apparently deadly technique Chauvin used as “a common mistake” officers employ that he said should not constitute “an act of murder.” After writing about what he says is the correct way to kneel on a suspect in an effort to restrain them, Mason resorted to a racist stereotype and suggested without proof that Floyd suffered from health problems and was probably intoxicated when Chauvin and three other officers encountered him. Finally, Mason said that Chauvin should be presumed “innocent” despite the death being recorded by witnesses who imported the cop to stop kneeling on Floyd, who repeated helplessly that he couldn’t breathe.
Shreveport Police Cpl. Angie Willhite told local news outlet ArkLaTexHomepage.com reported that officials were working to determine if Mason violated the department’s social media policy for its employees. The Shreveport Police Department on Wednesday wrote on its Facebook page that Mason’s opinion did not reflect that of its officers.
Mason was not alone when it came to the social media slander of Floyd. A Facebook user by the name of Claire Walden reacted to the Minneapolis protests of the 46-year-old man’s death by posting, “Shoot them on the spot. No need for Negro.”
The comment caused a wave of action, including calls from many Facebook users to have Walden fired from her job at a Publix grocery store in Florida.
Publix responded to many of the Facebook comments with comments of their own. One read:
“Please know, matters likes [sic] this are not taken lightly, and these views do not reflect our company’s values. Our human resources team is aware of this incident, and it is currently being investigated. While we appreciate you notifying us, we hope you understand that due to the sensitive nature of the situation, we’re unable to share any additional information at this time – Karleigh.”
This is America.