N.J. officer fired, another suspended for calling BLM ‘terrorists’
Two New Jersey police officers are facing consequences after making comments critical of Black Lives Matter.
Hopewell Township fired one officer for creating the post and demoted another for commenting on it. They are both pursuing legal action and their lawyer spoke out on Monday, per NJ.com.
“Last night as I left for work I had my two kids crying for me not to go to work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the way I did last night. And then I watched people I know and others I care about going into harm’s way. I love my police family like my own. So when you share posts and things on Facebook I’d really appreciate if you’d THINK before doing so. I’ve seen so many black lives matter [sic] hashtags in these posts. Just to let you know — they are terrorists. They hate me. They hate my uniform. They don’t care if I die,” per the post written by fired officer Sara Erwin.
Sgt. Mandy Grey, along with other officers, apparently commented on the post. Grey has been suspended for six months.
At the time, then police chief Lance Maloney apologized for the post to the community.
“On Monday, June 8, 2020 the township learned that multiple police officers and township employees had been accused of improper conduct involving social media,” Maloney wrote in an email to NJ Advance Media. “Those officers and employees were immediately placed on leave by the Chief of Police and Business Administrator.”
“As we continue to investigate a recent Facebook post, please know that I am sorry for the hurt that this incident has caused our community,” he said. “We understand that we have the obligation to make sure that our officers police in a manner that is fair and impartial.”
According to 2010 Census records, Hopewell Township, a township 50 miles from New York City near the Pennsylvania border, was 86.7% white.
But according to a prosecutor’s office spokesperson, when the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the incident, they found no criminal behavior.
The officers’ attorney, Frank Crivelli said the 20-plus-year veterans have “absolutely no disciplinary history,” and called the town’s actions, “disgraceful and cowardice.”
Both are appealing in Superior Court.
Grey was the first female sergeant when promoted in 2019 and was the first female officer hired in Hopewell Township. She will lose her rank in the demotion. Erwin is a popular DARE officer in the community.
The department has a precedent of allegedly discriminatory behavior.
Police Sgt. Michael Sherman who is biracial is suing the department for discrimination and a hostile work environment. The suit was filed back in March 2019.
The lawsuit said: “Racial remarks … were common practice, and were made in the presence of several of the African American employees in the department.”
Maloney is mentioned in the suit for failing to act and “hoped the issues would just go away on their own.”
Due to this and similar racial instances within the department, community members came together and created a petition requesting that Hopewell Township Mayor Kristin McLaughlin “dismantle the entire police department and completely rebuild it beginning with the removal of Chief of Police Lance Maloney IMMEDIATELY.”
Maloney has since retired.
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