A prison guard with the Attica Correctional Facility was suspended without pay for posting a “despicable” and “vile” meme on Facebook callously mocking the victims of the Buffalo mass shooting, while the New York State Department of Corrections seeks to fire him.
The department announced on Tuesday that Gregory Foster’s termination was being considered after it reviewed his social media feed and found disturbingly inappropriate comments that referred to the shooting. The corrections officer has been with the department for almost 25 years, according to NEWS10 WIVB.
“The comments made by this correction officer are despicable, stand in violation of multiple Department rules, and will not be tolerated,” the department adamantly declared in a statement. “This vile posting does not represent the morals and values of the thousands of staff members in the Department.”
“The individual responsible has been suspended without pay, and DOCCS will be seeking termination,” the department further stated.
“The Department has engaged the Civil Rights Task Force, which we are members of, for potential criminal prosecution. The Department has also launched an internal investigation to identify and discipline any staff who may have engaged with the posting,” DOCSS noted via its statement.
Early this morning, DOCCS had been made aware of a despicable social media post by an employee of the Department. The comments made by this correction officer are in violation of multiple Department rules and will not be tolerated.
— NYS DOCCS (@NYSDOCCS) May 17, 2022
The Department has engaged the Civil Rights Task Force, which we are members of, for potential criminal prosecution. The Department has also launched an internal investigation to identify and discipline any staff who may have engaged with the posting.
— NYS DOCCS (@NYSDOCCS) May 17, 2022
The department went even further, indicating there would be penalties for staff members who approved of the post. Ten of them reportedly joined and commented on the post with ‘laugh emojis,'” according to a memo from the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.
“We were recently made aware of an incident on social media involving a small handful of members who shared obscene jokes related to this weekend’s horrific shooting in Buffalo,” said Michael Powers, NYSCOPBA union president.
“Simply put, hateful rhetoric has no place in our organization. As a statewide entity representing individuals from across all ethnicities, genders, races, and backgrounds, we pride ourselves on being engrained in the fabric of our respective communities through volunteerism and participation in community efforts to better the lives of our neighbors,” Powers said in a statement, according to 13 WHAM.
“We do not condone and will not tolerate actions like this because it’s not who we are. We proudly stand with the Buffalo community, law enforcement entities who responded to this tragedy, and all those affected by this senseless act of violence,” he continued.
The image that Foster posted was of the Tops Friendly Markets grocery store with an abhorrent request for a “Clean up on aisle 3, no wait 4, also on 7, 9, 12 and 13,” according to the Washington Post. “Too soon? This should weed out some FB friends,” the guard wrote on the post, followed by a laughing emoji. Evidently, it has now been deleted.
— Giuseppe Stromboli (@GiusepStromboli) May 17, 2022
Payton Gendron, who is being reported as a mentally disturbed 18-year-old racist, stands accused of murdering ten people and wounding three others at the store on Saturday. He visited the area months ago and allegedly chose it because of its racial demographic. He left a 180-page deranged manifesto online before he went on his killing spree.
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