FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The Fall River Police Department issued an apology Wednesday after an opinion on the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial was briefly posted on its official Facebook page.
The former Minneapolis police officer awaits sentencing after he was found guilty Tuesday of murder and manslaughter charges in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Chauvin was captured on video pinning Floyd’s neck to the pavement with his knee for what authorities said was more than nine minutes as Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
The Facebook post, which has since been removed, reportedly referenced Chauvin calmly placing his hands behind his back after the verdict was read and questioned what would have happened if Floyd had done the same during his arrest.
Fall River police later released a statement saying the post was shared on their page unintentionally and doesn’t reflect the opinion of the department as a whole.
“It is with regret that the Fall River Police Department’s Facebook page was accessed by personnel who inadvertently re-posted an opinion that was meant for their own personal account. The posting in no way represents the opinion of the Chief of Police or the Fall River Police Department. We will continue our commitment toward transparency and building relationships with our community.”
Chief Jeffrey Cardoza said the post was shared by one of a few officers who has access to the department account.
“Today’s posting in no way reflects the beliefs of this organization. I am personally disappointed
these attitudes exist,” Cardoza said. “Through training, we have been and will continue to ensure our staff practices fair and impartial policing.”
Mayor Paul Coogan also chimed in, saying there is no place in the city’s police department to share an opinion like that.
“The post shared to the Fall River Police Department Facebook page was disappointing, frustrating and unacceptable,” Coogan said. “The post, despite being intended for a personal page, contains beliefs completely incompatible with my hopes for the Fall River Police Department.”
“While I am saddened by the harm that the statement has caused, it has reminded us of the
hard work we have yet to do to create transparent, strong relationships between the FRPD
and our community,” he continued.
Cardoza said the department will thoroughly investigate and address the incident, which will include disciplinary action.