Former New Jersey Hopewell Township police officer Sara Erwin did an interview on “Fox & Friends First” on Wednesday stating that she was “devastated” after being fired for writing a Facebook post where she called Black Lives Matter activists “terrorists.”
Erwin is a 20-year veteran of the force. She wrote the post while there was a lot of “turmoil” going on following the death of George Floyd: “I had friends, family, tons of people reaching out, text messages, phone calls, reaching out through messenger, checking on me and making sure everything was OK cause they were seeing so many things in the news.”
She “was worried about other officers” that she knew in other cities who were on the front lines during the protests. “I’m hearing things, I’m getting alerts on my phone and news sources, and it was just a really difficult couple of days,” Erwin noted.
“I felt it was easiest to put what I was feeling and get a message out there that I was home [and] I was safe,” she remarked. During the interview, Erwin stated it was an “emotional time.”
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Her post on Facebook read: “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 harms 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.”
Six employees, including five members of the police department, were summarily put on leave for allegedly supporting Erwin’s post in June of 2020.
Another 20-year veteran officer, Sgt. Mandy Gray was suspended for six months and demoted for liking Erwin’s June 2020 post. Both officers are going to court over their treatment by the police department. Neither has ever had a reprimand or a mark on their records until this incident. They consider their punishment unjust and excessively harsh.
The two female officers are being represented by attorney Frank Crivelli. “We know we are on the right side of the law in this instance,” he claimed. He called the town’s actions “disgraceful and cowardice.”
Gray has the distinction of being the first female officer that was hired on the force. She also became the first female sergeant after being promoted in 2019. She will lose that rank after being demoted.
She liked the post to show support for Erwin following a “very emotional conversation” at work. “I had to send one of my officers into a neighboring city that was having riots. It was just a very emotional night,” Gray commented. “I knew where she [Erwin] was coming from because of the conversation we had had earlier in the evening when she made that post and I hearted it in support in showing my love.”
Erwin is “still devastated” after being fired by the department. “I have never been in trouble in my entire career,” she sadly stated.
Crivelli remarked that Erwin and Grey were “outstanding” and “decorated officers.”
“The thing that’s really important to remember here is not only have they never been disciplined during their career, they’ve never even had a single internal affairs investigation lodged against them at any point in time,” he explained. He also went on to detail how in New Jersey “we have a policy called ‘progressive discipline,’ where in which you look at the entire officer and their entire career.”
The attorney contends that this is nothing more “than a policy violation at best and that’s if in fact, they get past the argument that their First Amendment rights don’t apply in this situation.” He declared they would be appealing the decisions and they are “extremely confident in regard to our position.”
The ruling came down on Friday through the city council who voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of a hearing officer on the matter.
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