FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ When Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan learned a city officer had unintentionally shared a controversial post on one of the police department’s social media accounts, he called it “disappointing, frustrating and unacceptable.”
The post, which has since been removed from the Fall River Police Department’s Facebook page, referenced the outcome of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death sparked outrage across the country, largely fueled by a video that surfaced of Chauvin pinning Floyd’s neck down to the pavement with his knee as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
The post made reference to Chauvin calmly placing his hands behind his back after the verdict was read and questioned what would’ve happened if George Floyd had done the same thing during his arrest.
The police department issued an apology soon after the post was removed, stating that one of the few officers with access to the page inadvertently re-posted an opinion meant for their personal account.
Coogan said while everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is not what the police department, nor the city, stands for.
“The people that are in that mindset can go somewhere else for all I care,” the mayor said.
Coogan said an independent investigator has been assigned to look into the incident.
The police department has not identified the officer who shared the post, but said he has been transferred to an assignment that has no contact with the public.
In a statement, Fall River Police Chief Jeffrey Cardoza said he’s “personally disappointed these attitudes exist.”
Coogan couldn’t agree more.
“Those kinds of people, working in any city department, whether it’s schools, police, fire, they don’t belong here,” he said.
Coogan said he and his administration have put in the work to strengthen diversity and ensure that all people feel included in Fall River.
While Coogan is frustrated that this incident set them back a bit, he knows the city will be OK.