In Bay City, Tx., a Matagorda County Sheriff’s deputy and a Bay City police officer who both supported the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision have been fired after verbally attacking a Black woman on Facebook with whom they were arguing over the Ferguson decision.
Relations between Blacks and the police have been on edge since the announcements of recent grand jury decisions that didn’t indict white officers for the deaths of unarmed Black men. The issue of police brutality and use of excessive force has divided protesters and law enforcement agencies. Some law enforcement members are annoyed that the protests are continuing after the grand juries made their decisions.
The deputy, Sgt. Robert Heckler, claims that the woman, Tylyrial Smith-Harris, called him a racist because he supported the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager.
The Facebook post was too profane to be released in its entirety, according to the Bay City Tribune.
The comment the deputy is accused of posting reads, “You three actually vote and reproduce, how sad. Your level of ignorance and lack of common sense is deafening. Please find a brick wall and do society a favor and bang your head into repeatedly. I’ll insult you, judge you call you what I want.”
The Bay City police officer, Maria Guajardo, posted a meme in the comments that Smith-Harris took as a threat, Jason Abernathy, Smith-Harris’ spokesman, told the Victoria Advocate.
After receiving complaints about the comments, both the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office and the Bay City Police Department placed Heckler and Guajardo on administrative leave and began internal affairs investigations.
Neither of them were found to have done anything wrong, but Heckler was fired for “violating policies and core objectives,” and Guajardo was fired for “insubordination,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Supporters of Heckler and Guajardo created a Facebook group, Support The Force: Robert and Maria, which has more than 220 members. Heckler’s mother-in-law, Patti Lyles Ward, is accusing Matagorda County Sheriff Skipper Osbourne of taking the easy way out to avoid protesters.
“”I think [Osbourne] wanted it to go away, and in order for it to go away, he took the chicken route,” Ward told the Advocate.
Smith-Harris and her supporters declined to comment to the Advocate, but a spokesman said termination was the only form of justice acceptable in the incident.