A Florida cop faces discipline after he allegedly made a violent Facebook post about David Hogg-led Publix “die-in” protests.
What’s the background here?
Last week, Parkland, Florida, student David Hogg tweeted, “Anyone who supports an NRA sellout is an NRA sellout. That is why I am calling on everyone to stop shopping at Publix until they pull their endorsement of Putnam publicly. Publix is supporting the inaction after pulse, strozier, Douglas, liberty city. Don’t support an NRA sellout.”
Hogg was referring Adam Putnam, who is running for governor of Florida, and receives contributions from Publix. As a result of Hogg’s activism, a “die-in” was held at Publix stores over the week.
The Publix “die-ins” occurred as protesters lie down in the grocery store chain’s stores and pretend to be dead while chanting slogans and holding signs.
Publix responded to the protests by announcing that it would cease all political donations.
So what did the cop say?
Coconut Creek Police K-9 Officer Brian Valenti shared the post, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The 45-year-old officer, who is a 23-year veteran of the force, reportedly shared the offending comment under a photo of Hogg and a blurb of the Publix “die-in” coverage.
Valenti reportedly wrote that he had hopes “some old lady loses control of her car in that [Publix] lot.”
According to the Sun Sentinel, Hogg and other activists “used chalk to draw the outlines of 17 bodies in the parking lot outside a Coral Springs store” prior to the store protest.
The Sun Sentinel reports that Valenti’s post has since been taken down, but the outlet has screenshots of the alleged incident for posterity.
Rod Skirvin, a union leader and retired Coconut Creek detective, said that Valenti is “distraught” over the alleged incident.
“He feels terrible and is very willing to apologize in person,” Skirvin said, according to the Sun Sentinel. “We are going to speak to the chief on Tuesday when he goes back to work. There will be disciplinary repercussions for him.”
According to the outlet, Police Chief Butch Arenal said that Valenti’s comment was “unprofessional and inappropriate.”
“The officer admitted that it was in poor taste, and indicated that it was meant as a joke, but certainly didn’t come off that way,” Arenal said in an email to a Facebook user who contacted him about the comment, according to the outlet. “It is for that reason that he thought it better to remove the post. He will be offering an apology, as he has indicated that he wants to do whatever he has to do to make it right.”
“We’ll look into it more fully on Tuesday,” Arenal told the Sun Sentinel.