A cop in suburban Chicago was fired Monday for several Facebook posts about the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown, including one saying the officer who pulled the trigger “did society a favor.”
“Hmmm … innocent victim my a–,” Elgin Police Officer Jason Lentz, an 18-year veteran, wrote in one post featuring surveillance footage of Brown allegedly stealing a box of cigars.
“Did society a favor.”
Lentz had been on leave from the department since Aug. 21, when the comments first came to light. His firing was reported by the Elgin Courier-News.
Explaining the decision, police brass said several of Lentz’s posts violated its rules regarding social media use and that his conduct undermined the department’s credibility.
“Our relationship with the community is based upon trust. When an officer violates this trust, action must be taken,” Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said in a statement to the Courier-News.
In another post, Lentz sneered at a photo of Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, a Ferguson native appointed to take control of security there in the shooting’s tumultuous aftermath.
The photo showed Johnson, who is black, making a fraternity hand signal with another young black man.
When the photo first surfaced in mid-August, boneheads on social media — and CNN — wrongly identified as a gang sign.
“This is Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt Ron Johnson,” Elgin wrote. “He’s also in the Chicago Tribune hugging protesters. Just awesome….appears to be the enemy within.”
The Washington Post was among the first to ID the sign as a greeting among members of Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity.
In another post last November, Lentz expressed glee at a photo of a note from a parent explaining their child’s absence on Veteran’s Day.
The note said the child would attend school on Veterans Day when students were required to go to school on Martin Luther King Day.
“Hell Yeah!!! I think next year I’ll keep the kids home,” Lentz wrote.
Lentz’s legal team argued that his comments were made on a private account, not a police account, and should have been considered protected speech, the Chicago Tribune reported.