A New York corrections officer is facing termination for posting a meme on Facebook mocking the Buffalo mass shooting victims.
Greg Foster II has been suspended without pay after he posted a photograph of a Tops Friendly Markets store with the caption: “Clean up on aisle 3, no wait 4, also on 7, 9, 12 and 13.”
“Too soon? This should weed out some FB friends,” Foster wrote with a laughing emoji at the end of the sentence.
At least seven people reacted with a laughing emoji before the post was removed. Screenshots of the post and the reactions have circulated on social media. Some are urging the public to file complaints to state correction officials.
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said the “despicable post” “does not represent the morals and values” of its staff and violates multiple department rules.
Foster will be fired, and the state agency has launched an investigation to “identify and discipline any staff who may have engaged with the posting,” officials said in a series of tweets on Tuesday, May 17.
On May 14, white supremacist, Payton Gendron fired 50 rounds outside of and inside Tops store, killing 10 people and injuring three. Eleven of the victims were Black.
The FBI is investigating the case as a hate crime. New evidence revealed on Tuesday showed Gendron asked others to review his plan in a chatroom on the social media platform Discord 30 minutes before the shooting.
Officials said Foster was hired in 1997, and worked at Attica Correctional Facility, a prison less than an hour outside of Buffalo.
The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association Inc. also condemned the post in a statement Tuesday. The union said it would ensure that officers involved will be guaranteed their due process rights, “but we do not support the actions that brought you to this point.”
“This is a sickening display of disregard for all human life, and NYSCOPBA does not condone such hatred,” the union’s executive board said. “The NYSCOPBA represents members across all backgrounds, and to learn that a small number of our members could act in such a way leaves us angry and disheartened.”
Local, state and federal authorities are also investigating a hate crime just 20 minutes away from the Tops store where the racial massacre occurred on Saturday.
Johnny Parks told police he was heading to work on Monday when he saw a racist message spray-painted on the back of his fence.
“So I went around the block to get a better look, and there it was. ‘Kill All N-Words,” Parks said. “Who would do something like this? I’ve never seen nothing like this, nothing like this at all.”
Parks’ daughter Jaz wrote on social media that the family lived in their home in the town of Niagara for more than a decade. Parks is well-known in the community. He is a longtime basketball referee and has run for a seat on the town board.
Neighbors attempted to help the Black homeowners remove the graffiti before a local The Home Depot store stepped in and replaced the fence, according to reports.
“My heart hurts so badly,” Jaz wrote on social media. “Racism is a terrible thing. This is heartbreaking. Be safe out there. Teach peace and love in this hateful world.”
Parks said he still believes his neighbors are good people, and he hopes that the incident is a learning lesson.
“I think if everybody got to know their neighbors a little bit better, this wouldn’t happen,” he said. “It’s something that we need to educate our young people and our older people so that we can move past this and it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said racist messages also were found in the Bronx Monday.