An Illinois police officer was fired this week after posting on Facebook about 18-year-old Michael Brown: "Innocent victim my ass. Did society a favor."
The Elgin Police Department said Jason Lentz's Aug. 15 Facebook post about the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting violated the department's policy governing officers' social media use.
Elgin Police Dept. officer Jason Lentz was fired from the department. (Image source: The Daily Herald)
Lentz, a 17-year police veteran, had linked to a Fox News video about surveillance footage that allegedly showed Brown robbing a convenience store before he was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer.
Lentz, 40, added this commentary: “Hmmm … Innocent victim my ass. Did society a favor."
A Freedom of Information Act request turned up records that indicated that Lentz failed to remove the post after the department asked him to do so; instead he edited down his commentary to “Hmmm…”, the Elgin Courier-News reported.
Lentz was placed on administrative leave Aug. 26 and fired on Monday.
“Our relationship with the community is based upon trust," Elgin Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said in an official statement. "When an officer violates this trust, action must be taken.”
This wasn't the first time Lentz got in trouble on the job. The Courier-News reported he'd had his police powers stripped four times and was last suspended in June.
After Lentz’s Aug. 15 post was discovered, the Courier-News reported, a police commander used another officer's Facebook account to scan through Lentz's page to determine if he'd made other troubling posts. About a dozen were catalogued, according to the newspaper, among them:
- Aug. 4, 2013: “In order to maintain some sense of sanity and security I am going to post this warning to all. I do not believe in political correctness. I believe that the state of this nation is due to everyone being overly PC. What happened to having thick skin?”
- From that same month: “… A police training class is cancelled because of protests from a Muslim civil liberties group. The class title ‘Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy.’ Hmmm …another way to thwart law enforcement efforts from learning about threats to our cities and nation."
- This year, Lentz posted a photo of a parent's letter to a school that said a child wouldn’t attend classes on Veterans Day until school was open for Martin Luther King Day. Lentz’s comment: “Hell Yeah!!! I think next year I’ll keep the kids home.”
- On Aug. 17, Lentz posted a photo of Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson standing with a black man as they made “OK” hand signs with their hands and commented, “He is also in the Chicago Tribune hugging protesters. Just awesome … appears to be the enemy within.” The “OK” sign apparently refers to Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity Johnson was a member of in college, according to the Washington Post.
Lentz’s previous without-pay suspensions in 2001, 2012 and June were over issues including his making disparaging comments about a supervisor and sending inappropriate emails.
(H/T: Raw Story)