Some people still don’t seem to understand that posting racially offensive comments to social media can — and will — cost them their jobs.
That’s exactly what happened to former Chadbourn, North Carolina police officer Ricky Soles following public backlash over a seemingly racist message he posted on his Facebook page.
According to CBS affiliate WNCN News, the Chadbourn Police Department terminated Soles after they found his actions to be “unbecoming of a police officer.” He was also in violation of the law enforcement code of ethics.
In the now-deleted post, the disgraced officer seemed to take aim at African-Americans with statements like “You are NOT victims anymore” and “You have your hand out for more freebies.” Soles went on to state, “You have a 74 percent illegitimacy rate, you are 13 percent of the population but you commit 65 percent of the crime, you have no concept of personal responsibility, you don’t try in school” and a host of other stereotypical comments.
Soles’ post comes just one week after police shot and killed 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled Black man in Charlotte. Chadbourn community members expressed outrage that an officer from their community would post such racist and offensive remarks during a time of grief and increased racial tension.
“It’s scary to be honest with you, it’s scary,” Chadbourn resident Lena Stephens told WNCN. “We’ve got police riding through here every day, and people don’t know what to do, if we should hold our hands up or put their hands down you know. It’s very sad.”
Soles has since deleted his Facebook account, but asserted his post was in no way racist because it never mentioned any specific “race, religion, sex, culture, age group, movement, etc.”
“This post is directed to CRIMINALS, ‘bad guys,’ ” the former officer said in a statement. “This post is directed to individuals who break the law and believe it is ok, or believe they can get away with it. This post represents the truth of how 99% of individuals I have ever placed in handcuffs feel. I say this from individuals making excuses as to why they broke the law, or defending the fact they broke the law.”
Soles went on to confess that the post wasn’t his own, and that he had copied and pasted it from a post on the Police One website — a post authored by an unnamed sheriff in Milwaukee.
“That’s just how — he related to it — I mean he didn’t say any color — he related to it because criminals committing murder and violent at that time, they are criminals,” Sole’s wife, Shana Soles, said.
Soles is the second cop this week to be fired for racist remarks made on social media. According to Pittsburgh’s Action 4 News, police officer Melissa Adamson got the boot after she posted a Snapchat picture of herself in uniform with the caption, “I’m the law today ni—a.”
McKeesport, Pennsylvania Mayor Michael Cherepko promptly terminated Adamson, stating “This post displays a degree of conduct and character that is far different from what I would expect from an officer in this city. It is absolutely unacceptable.”
“Without hesitation, my office and the police chief’s office immediately concluded that this officer’s actions will not be tolerated in the city of McKeesport. She has been relieved of her duties, and her employment has been terminated,” he concluded.
The racially insensitive post not only cost Adamson one job, but two. The ex-cop worked as a part-time police officer in Versailles but resigned from her position on Tuesday, according to Police Chief Charles Roka.
Adamson has since apologized for the offensive post and maintains she isn’t a racist.
“I’m sorry for who I did offend,” she said. “It was not my intention. I can’t express how sorry I am for how I made you feel — emotionally, physically. Again, it wasn’t my intention.”