The St. Louis Police Metropolitan Department has launched an investigation after one of its officers was accused of posting a Facebook meme calling Black Lives Matter demonstrators “domestic terrorists.”
Officer Deron Riley reportedly posted the meme, which dubs the social justice group as “the Klan with a tan,” as a comment in response to a woman’s post explaining why she participated in recent protests sparked by the acquittal of ex-officer Jason Stockley, local station KMOV reported.
The comment has since been deleted. However, the department has confirmed that someone bearing Riley’s name is indeed a city officer.
“He needs to be let go,” said Lisa Clancy, the woman who took part in the protests. “I think they need to send a strong message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.”
Clancy told the station she first saw the officer’s comment on her Facebook post about attending the protests for Anthony Lamar Smith, the Black man who was fatally shot by Stockley in December 2011. A judge acquitted the former officer of first-degree murder Friday, Sept. 15, sparking protests that turned violent as the days went on.
During the unrest, police officers were heard chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they cleared protesters and onlookers in the city’s downtown area Sunday, according to CBS News. Interim police Chief Lawrence O’Toole even commented that “police owned” Sunday night.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson denounced both the police chants and Facebook meme, calling them unacceptable.
“I’ve heard about that, but I have not personally seen that,” Krewson said of the meme. “If that is the case, first of all, I certainly disagree with that comment.”
Clancy said she’s reached out to St. Louis PD several times via Twitter about the matter, but to no avail.
“Letting that behavior happen undermines the very trust and relationships that are very important right now, especially when our community is in such a crisis moment,” she said.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department didn’t return requests for comment.