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‘This Is Totally Our Fault’: Missouri Police Department Apologizes for Hiring Cop Who Posted About Decapitating Black People Online

A suburban Kansas City police department is now down by one new employee following the resurfacing of old social media posts that exposed his racially prejudiced beliefs.

Officials in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, have apologized to the community for hiring a police officer without doing a thorough check of his social media.

Missouri Police Department Apologizes for Hiring Cop Who Posted About Decapitating Black People Online
Jacob Smith being sworn in as a Pleasant Hill police officer on Aug. 14, 2023. (Photo: Pleasant Hill Missouri Police Department/Facebook)

Former officer Jacob Smith relinquished his badge after the PHPD launched an investigation into several social media posts that did not reflect the city and those employed to represent the interest of the small town.

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According to the PHPD, Smith and another cadet were sworn in as officers during the City Council regular meeting held on Aug. 14.

The following day, images of the two new officers were shared on the City of Pleasant Hill and Pleasant Hill Police Department’s social media profiles. One person saw the pictures and recognized Smith and brought to everyone’s attention old posts from Smith’s social media accounts.

The posts, made only a month ago, were extremely offensive. While Smith posted some political memes, many of the posts were homophobic memes. The most disturbing was a post that referenced decapitating Black people.

Authorities were shocked to learn that social media posts contained content that was racially insensitive, which contradicted the values upheld by the city, the police department, elected officials, the law enforcement profession, and the entire community, they said.

According to, Smith was placed on paid leave immediately after the conclusion of the city council meeting. Subsequently, following an examination of the accusations, he was terminated at approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

“There is no excuse for racism, insinuation of violence, or any form of hate in our community. Our hiring process failed to identify the social media posts of this individual prior to being hired and it was discovered after the fact, but still allowing the City the opportunity to take administrative action before this individual was released to full-duty,” the department said in a joint statement with Mayor John E.P. King and the Office of the City Administrator.

The department shared that typically the hiring process includes “a social media background check evaluating rhetoric or conduct that is unbecoming of law enforcement officers,” but “unintentionally” overlooked that step with Smith’s process.

“This is totally our fault. We traditionally do a very comprehensive background. This time we failed to do so,” Pleasant Hill Police Chief Tommy Wright said in an interview with FOX4.

Within hours of being exposed, Smith was fired.

“It is an unfortunate truth that in my 30-plus years as a firefighter, I have seen how one employee can derail the trust and integrity of the best organizations. The police officers, sergeants, and leadership of the Pleasant Hill Police Department work hard every day to provide this community with the safety and protection at the highest level of service,” King said in a statement.

“These officers are part of this community, and they want their police department to be the pride of this city,” the mayor continued. “Please do not let one individual detract from the work they have accomplished in the last few years to make the Pleasant Hill Police Department what it is today.”

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