Two New Jersey officers are facing steep punishments for a social media post that likened Black Lives Matter protesters to terrorists.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends First,” former Officer Sara Erwin said she was terminated following an investigation by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office — which determined no criminal behavior took place — leaving the department to issue its own punishment.
Her sergeant, Mandy Grey, was demoted and suspended for liking the post shared in June 2020 that stated: “Last night as I left for work I had my two kids crying for me not to go to work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the way I did last night. And then I watched people I know and others I care about going into harms way. I love my police family like my own. So when you share posts and things on Facebook I’d really appreciate if you’d THINK before doing so. I’ve seen so many black lives matter [sic] hashtags in these posts. Just to let you know — they are terrorists. They hate me. They hate my uniform. They don’t care if I die.”
Erwin deleted the post after it sparked controversy.
“I’ve never been in trouble in my entire career pretty much a rule follower,” explained Erwin during the May 5 Fox interview. The department said her April 30 termination came on the grounds that the post violated department social media practices.
“I was devastated, I’m still devastated, it’s hard to put into words this punishment for something that is a policy violation is difficult,” said the mother of two. Sgt. Grey shared that her liking the post was a sign of support for her colleague, who was distraught while watching national riots and protests as a result of the death of George Floyd.
“The reason I showed my support is Sara was, is one of my officers, we had had a very emotional conversation that night at work,” Grey said. “I knew where she was coming from because of the conversations we had had.”
“The fact that she supported her position as a fellow officer, that was the reason that they actually suspended her,” said Frank Crivelli, the attorney representing both women in their Superior Court appeals.
Both women have served the department for over two decades. Grey made history when she became the Hopewell Valley community’s first female officer, and again when she was promoted to sergeant in 2019.
Around the time the Facebook post was made, the township was already dealing with claims of racism in the police department. Biracial Sgt. Michael Sherman sued the department citing “discriminatory practices” and a “hostile work environment.”