Four police officers in San José, California were placed on leave while the department says it is investigating alleged racist and anti-Muslim posts on Facebook.
Apparently, the investigation stemmed from a blog post made Friday on Medium by an anonymous author who claims to be “the partner of a law enforcement officer active in a San Francisco Bay area police department.”
The Medium article includes screenshots of alleged posts by active and retired officers from San José, including some that the author said were posted on a private Facebook group of retired and current officers in the city.
Links to posts with screenshots in the article appeared to be broken late on Saturday afternoon.
The screenshots include an alleged post by a retired officer who criticizes Black Lives Matter protesters as “racist idiots,” “non-Americans,” and “enemies.” Another screenshot, allegedly from a post by a current officer in San Jose, says: “Black lives don’t really matter.”
The article also includes screenshots of anti-Muslim posts allegedly made on the private Facebook group, including a comment that reads, “I say relocate hijabs in knots.”
Officer Gina Tepoorten, a spokeswoman for the San José Police Department, said an administrative investigation into the comments is underway and that “four of our officers were placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.”
The FBI has been asked to assist in the investigation, Tepoorten said. The police department has not identified the officers on leave.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement: “While I have no control over what the former employees post online, I can express my outrage after hearing about these comments online.”
“Any current employee involved in intolerant online activities will be promptly investigated and will be held accountable to the maximum extent possible. We have no place for this,” Garcia said.
San José Mayor Sam Liccardo said he demands a full investigation of the incident and hopes “that racist, anti-Muslim or threatening comments made by any current SJPD officer will be resolved.”
Paul Kelly, president of the San José Police Officers Association, released a video statement on Friday night.
“I want to be crystal clear. There is no place in our police department or in our union for racists or fanatics or for those who enable them by not speaking when you see that kind of behavior,” he said. “And I say this to anyone who participates, the San José Police Officers Association will not provide you with shelter or protection. We will not represent you because you do not represent us.”
Kelly said the union will press charges to remove any union officials who are involved.