St. Louis cop: BLM are ‘Klan with a tan’ — but that’s not the only thing wrong with this story

St. Louis cop: BLM are ‘Klan with a tan’ — but that’s not the only thing wrong with this story
A St. Louis police officer was placed under internal investigation after reportedly sharing an offending Facebook post about the Black Lives Matter movement. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

A St. Louis police officer has been placed on leave for reportedly sharing a meme on Facebook calling the Black Lives Matter movement “domestic terrorists” and “Klan with a tan.”

What happened?

Just one day after a white former St. Louis cop was acquitted of fatally shooting a black motorist, the unidentified officer who allegedly shared the meme on Facebook was targeted by other users who reported him to his supervisors.

The meme depicted a Black Lives Matter rally and was emblazoned with terms that read, “The Klan with a Tan” as well as “Domestic Terrorists.”

St. Louis resident — and protester of the Jason Stockley “not guilty” verdict — Lisa Clancy said that a post she shared was one that was targeted by the officer’s meme.

Clancy’s original Facebook post spoke to why she was protesting in St. Louis, noting that she marched because she wanted her son “to live in a world where he doesn’t fear those who are different than him,” and to set an example where her son “sees and activates his own path to show up and make his voice heard when there is injustice.”

In response to Clancy’s post, the officer reportedly shared the following photo:

Further reports claimed that the officer deleted the meme from Facebook on Monday.

The response

According to reports, the officer is under internal investigation as a result of his behavior on the social media network.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who was tagged in Clancy’s original post, publicly condemned the actions of the officer in a news conference.

Krewson confirmed the internal investigation, and said that although she didn’t see the original post, “if that’s the case, I certainly disagree with the [officer’s] comment.”

This writer’s perspective

If the officer did share the meme, it seems quite morally wrong to lump together a group of people and label them all as one particular thing.

However.

The First Amendment allows for free speech of all sorts — yes, including hate speech — and while the officer’s alleged actions may leave a bad taste in the mouths of many, he should not be fired from the police force should an internal investigation suggest a termination as punishment.

The question of whether government employees are speaking in their capacity as government employees or as private citizens is a tricky one, and is a matter the courts may have to sort out. If the officer was sharing his thoughts as a private citizen, and not as a police officer, and that would fall under protected speech by the constitution.

And, playing the devil’s advocate, the officer did not share any information that would necessarily impede him from doing his job properly.

The officer did not voice his opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement as a representative of the police department, nor did it occur on a social media page affiliated with the police department. Therefore, while what he did doesn’t necessarily ring a moral bell, it doesn’t mean that he did anything illegal or worthy of losing his job over, either.

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