A Fort Worth, Texas, police officer found himself unemployed Thursday because he was stupid enough to think that, even with a national spotlight continuing to air out police practices in America, he could get away with sharing a meme on Facebook that featured a Black man in a casket as a warning of what happens when you resist arrest.
CBS 11 reports that last week, 18-year veteran police officer Roger Ballard was placed on restricted duty while he was being investigated for a Facebook post he made in September. The image Ballard shared that showed a Black man lying dead in a coffin was accompanied by text that reads, “The face you make when you don’t understand ‘stop resisting.’”
2 Ft. Worth TX Police Officers. According to police records as of 12/2019, Roger Ballard Fort Worth police officer & Anne Catherine Ballard corporal at FW police dept. But don't worry, folks. Internal Affairs said they made them take it down. #BLM #fireRacistCops #TrumpsAmerica pic.twitter.com/PgoYXvuKnM
— Cynthia Thompson (@cynisterkitty) September 25, 2020
On Thursday, the Fort Worth Police Department released a statement saying Ballard has been suspended indefinitely after he shared a post that was “racially insensitive and grossly inappropriate.”
— Fort Worth Police (@fortworthpd) October 1, 2020
“After reviewing the Internal Affairs findings, Chief Kraus concurred with the chain of command determination that Officer Roger Ballard was in violation of departmental General Orders and that his conduct brought justified unfavorable criticism upon the department,” the statement reads.
The statement—which also mentioned that a second police officer is being investigated in connection to the same meme—concluded saying, “The Fort Worth Police Department holds every officer to a very high standard and any comment, post, or any communication which is racially insensitive and unprofessional will not be condoned in any manner. Our department will continue to hold accountable those who do not meet that standard.”
From CBS 11:
Cory Session, who is a part of Fort Worth’s Race and Culture Task Force, said that this incident erodes the progress the police department has made in building trust with the people they serve.
“Just unacceptable. You are endangering other officers. You’re endangering the lives of citizens and you’re creating a narrative that people want to believe. ‘See I told you they don’t care.’ And that’s unacceptable by any means,” Session said.
OK, but isn’t it much more than a “narrative that people want to believe” when real-life police officers share posts that make light of the deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers? Doesn’t Ballard’s post indicate that there’s a reality behind the idea that there are cops who are indifferent to the mattering of Black lives at best and contemptuous towards the idea at worst?
You would think that all of these stories that have come out over the past few years about public servants catching pink slips over their online behavior would teach cops and everyone else that posting racist shit on social media isn’t the same as having private conversations with your fellow racists in the confines of your own home.
But whatever: Cops and other officials can keep being insensitive jackasses online and after it comes back to bite them, I’ll just keep singing my favorite song of 2020: