Officer suspended over social-media post

  • Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A police officer was suspended pending an internal investigation into a social-media post over the weekend.

The officer sparked fury across the community by posting a meme of a car driving over stick figures, with the words “All Lives Splatter. Nobody cares about your protest” in the run-up to the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, described the post as “despicable” at a press conference after the march: “Not only do I understand the mood in the community, I share it. It was an abhorrent post.

“Even more disappointing is the fact that we have repeatedly advised officers in regards to not just the perils of social media, but the fact that their role is to support the community.”

He added: “We also have to recognise there is due process that takes place with any allegation.

“However, that won’t stop us from investigating this matter expeditiously ... we are seeking to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

Mr Corbishley said: “I do understand the feeling in the community, which is anger. I also share that anger.

“I stand here today after coming back from a march with regards to our black community’s issues, yet one of my officers has let the service down and let the community down.”

He said that, through the standard disciplinary process, police would “apply the relevant sanction as soon as possible”.

Mr Corbishley said he would not name the officer, although “obviously it is widespread” online.

Organisers of the demonstration yesterday called for the officer to be fired, saying the post, which contained an image of a car hitting people, was implicitly violent.

Mr Corbishley said that “to maintain public trust, suspension was the right thing to do”.

He added: “Sanctions follow the code of conduct that is in place — and yes, it does include dismissal.”

Earlier in the weekend, Mr Corbishley posted on Facebook that “while suspension is not an indication of guilt because we do need to establish the facts, we do take that decision when public confidence is necessary”.

Yesterday he said he would announce further steps to improve trust in the police and boost transparency.

“We’re on a journey,” Mr Corbishley said. “I want to acknowledge the feeling in the community, but I want to get away from simply being about rhetoric, and judge people on our actions.”

In 2017, a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman during a “Unite The Right Rally” to protest the removal of statues to proslavery Confederate soldiers in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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