A St. Louis police lieutenant is under investigation after authoring an incendiary Facebook post suggesting only Latinos should be doing manual labor, specifically construction work.
Lieutenant Jerry Foster’s online comments about a Mexican restaurant in an Illinois community has locals up in arms, local station KMOV reported. Many have called his remarks flat-out racist.
“… I am not sure what the hell is going on in our country these days. I just drove by an authentic Mexican restaurant in town; and there were white guys putting on a new roof, cutting the grass and doing landscaping,” Foster wrote.
Jose Romero is the owner of the Mexican eatery and said his business has been closed for renovations. Though Foster’s post doesn’t mention “Casa Romero” specifically, the location stamp shows Waterloo, Ill., where construction on the restaurant is ongoing.
“I guess that’s the way he thinks, and that’s sad,” Romero told the station. “I don’t lose any sleep over this. Simple as that.”
“All I can do is move on and keep making this place bigger and nicer for the community,” he added.
Mike Lasky, who is white and has worked on Romero’s restaurant for three months now, said he was shocked to see something so insensitive posted online — especially coming from a police officer.
“It’s disturbing and I hate to see it, but it just shows that it does exist and it’s sad,” Lasky said.
Rev. Darryl Gray, a community liaison of the Ethical Society of Police, called the lieutenant’s remarks “racially insensitive” and argued that he should be terminated.
“We’re going to challenge it and expose it,” Gray told local station KSDK. “He should be fired. We’ve already submitted that there should be, as part of a screening process with recruits, some type of psychological training that would help weed out racists or people who have racists tendencies.”
A KMOV report revealed this isn’t the first time Foster has made inflammatory remarks on Facebook. In 2016, he dubbed liberals the “Democratic Criminal Party” after Lezley McSpadden, the mother of slain Black teen Michael Brown, was invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention.
A SLMPD representative said the lieutenant’s latest comments are being investigated.
“We are aware of the posts,” the department said in a statement. “The views expressed in the posts in no way represent the views of the Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis. The matter is currently under investigation.”