The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police recently posted a status update on their Facebook page which praised the police officers who searched for the shooter in Las Vegas last weekend. In that post, they simultaneously hurled a backhanded insult at NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem.
The post read: “To the brave NFL players that ran into a hotel with an active sniper … Nevermind, those were police officers …”
The post had over 3,000 reactions, nearly 1,200 shares, and over 100,000 views. It appreared on the Union’s Facebook page on Monday at 8:49 pm.
However, the post was suddenly deleted from their timeline, according to Tulsa World.
The post, according to Secrist, received an “overwhelmingly” positive response. It also received considerable backlash, though the police union president said he expected negative comments.
Many accused the organization of willingly furthering the divide between Tulsa’s black community and law enforcement.
Others said the post exploited the shooting that left nearly 60 people dead and hundreds more injured.
One comment stated that the post shows that the police union hasn’t given “an iota of thought to the concerns of millions of people who care about police brutality.”
“I don’t know who is responsible for this, but you’ve set back the reputation and good will toward (the Tulsa Police Department) in the minds of the people who need to trust you the most,” the comment said.
FOP President Mark Secrist told Tulsa World that the post spawned from a meme circulating on social media. The purpose of the post was to demonstrate appreciation for police officers after many weeks of constant public criticism from NFL players during pre-game ceremonies.
“The meme surfaced after several weeks of discussion on social media about the negative issue with NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem,” Secrist wrote to Tulsa World in an email. “We were only showcasing the heroic acts of our Brothers and Sisters in Las Vegas.”
Later in the exchange, he did state that the Tulsa police department does need to do a better job of connecting with the community which they are obliged to protect. Especially after the incident involving officer Betty Shelby, where she shot and killed an unarmed black man last year. She was acquitted by a jury earlier this year.
Ultimately, the decision to remove the post was because the union did not want to draw attention away from the tragedy in Vegas and other important issues.
While the sentiment is definitely understandable, it probably was for the best to remove it from the page, especially given the timing. A police department should focus more on community outreach and bridging gaps between the department and the civilian population which they serve.
I get the idea behind the post. NFL players were not the ones who went up those floors and confronted the shooter who carried out the worst criminal mass shooting in American history. But a police department making shady Facebook posts is a bit over the top, I think. There are better things PD should be doing with their time and social media posts.
What do you think? Let me know below!