How much trouble can a cop with a Twitter account get into?
San Jose police Officer Phillip White is finding out after posting his frustrations toward protesters on his account Saturday.
In one of the tweets he wrote:
Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you. #CopsLivesMatter.
By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun,” Officer Phillip White tweeted on Saturday night.
The San Jose Police Department told reporters White has been placed on leave.
“It is extremely important for the community to know the comments made on Officer White’s private social media account do not reflect the thoughts or feelings of the men and women here at the San Jose Police Department,” the city’s police chief, Larry Esquivel Esquivel, said in a statement. “Nor do we condone this type of behavior.”
According to BuzzFeed News, after it reached out to the San Jose police department and Officer White, “the tweets were deleted from his account and a spokesperson said the matter was up for review.”
The backlash has been swift from officials. CBS San Francisco reported:
Raj Jayadev of Silicon Valley De-Bug, which works to promote a better relationship between minorities and police, demanded that White be fired. “I saw venom and vitriol and I saw someone who is a walking danger and a walking threat who has a badge and a gun along with the state’s authority to use it.”
The San Jose Police Officers’ Union, which usually doesn’t comment on personnel issues, made an exception with a prepared statement from incoming Vice-President James Gonzales. “Offensive, disrespectful and inappropriate social media comments have no place in the public discourse surrounding the tragic loss of life from recent officer-involved incidents. We condemn these comments.”
San Jose Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo released a statement Monday saying the officer’s statements should be thoroughly investigated. “The residents of San Jose need to know that these statements in no way reflects the fine character of our San Jose Police Department or its officers.”
Before the account was removed, BuzzFeed captured tweets from White dating back several weeks, expressing anger at the growing anti-cop protests.
White, a 20-year-veteran officer, was also an assistant coach for the Menlo College basketball team. Monday, the college posted a notice on Facebook to distance itself from White.
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