A Northern California police officer is no longer employed by his department after posting disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement on social media.
Pacific Grove Police Chief Cathy Madalone said in a six-minute video posted to the department’s YouTube channel on Wednesday that the officer who made the comments on the right-wing social media platform in November is “no longer employed by the city of Pacific Grove in any capacity.”
Madalone said she couldn’t provide more information about the matter due to “legal constraints.”
Late last year the chief said the post in question said “F–k Black Lives Matter.” Pending the investigation, the officer was placed on leave at that time.
In December, citizens had sent screenshots of a Parler account identified as belonging to Pacific Grove Officer Michael Gonzalez to The Monterey County Weekly. The images were of the disparaging Black Lives Matter comment and a post calling for the release of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who killed two people at a Black Live Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.
Although the department did not identify the officer, a post on a Christian fundraising website identified the man as Michael Gonzalez and claimed he had been “unlawfully terminated” because of his political beliefs.
By Thursday evening, the page had raised $3,000 of the $15,000 goal.
A message on the page states that Gonzalez “expressed his Political views against the Black Lives Matter Organization due to their calls for Defunding Police.” The post goes on to say that “The content of the posts is fully within the boundaries of law and in no way expressing threatening or hateful thoughts – yet Chief Madalone made it subjectively and maliciously assumed his intentions as threats and biased by holding a press conference and expressing her personal views without a completed investigation.”
The money will go toward supporting the Gonzalez family and to cover expenses incurred by “lengthy lawsuit” against the Pacific Grove Police Department and the city.
The Parler app, a popular Twitter alternative for right-wingers, came under scrutiny following the Capitol riot. Apple and Google have banned the app from their stores, claiming the planform did not do enough to moderate violent threats users made on the server, and Amazon ceased hosting the service’s servers.
In May 2020, Gonzalez was reported to the city by a citizen for having “controversial decals” on his personal vehicle parked on city property. The decals included Thin Blue Line, pro-Trump and anti-LGBT stickers.
A decal for the far-right motto “Molon Labe” was also affixed to the truck.
“We will continue to serve this community and provide professional police services while respecting the rights and dignity of all people,” Madalone said in the Wednesday video. She added that the city’s hiring practices include “Robust and comprehensive background investigations.”