In Oklahoma, local police chief resigns after a racially insensitive Facebook post

Eddie Adamson Facebook Video

Chickasha, Oklahoma, is a small town of about 16,000.  It has also become the latest entry into the world of social media disasters after their (now former) police chief posted an offensive video of himself to Facebook.

Using his personal account, Police Chief Eddie Adamson posted a video, “the caption of which contained a racial slur.”  The video title: How a real n***er order Starbucks.  The video itself featured a clip from the movie Role Models.

That started a public campaign against Adamson.  In a letter to the Chickasha’s city manager, police Sergant Jeremy Alexander sought the resignation of the Chief, telling the Chickasha News:

I honestly don’t believe a person in our chief’s position can come back after you go out on that limb,” he said. “When I was a little boy I knew what it was like to hear that word come out of a police officer’s mouth. It made me sick then, it makes me sick now and it will make sick until the day they put me in the ground.

Less than a week after the news stories about the Facebook post started, Chief Adamson heeded the letter and resigned.  In a letter, Adamson noted that his effectiveness as Chief would be reduced and acknowledged that the post was racially insensitive.  He also said that the post itself was accidental and that he deleted it shortly after making it.

Former Chief Adamson has become the latest victim of a central truth of social media: there is no such thing as private.  If this post was intentional, then the Chief presumably made ti thinking that no one but his Facebook friends would notice.  Clearly, that was not the case.  The lesson: Never make a post to social media unless you would be comfortable with the post appearing on the front page of your local newspaper.  No matter how “private” you think a post is…it isn’t.  Privacy isn’t quite dead yet, but social media is certainly helping to kill it.

Did the Chief have to resign?  A local columnist says no, arguing that one mistake shouldn’t have ended a career.  However, the same columnist made a very valid point: Adamson never apologized.  He never tried to make amends.  He was publicly silent until he resigned.  That was a career ending mistake.  Had Adamson held a press conference in which he acknowledged the seriousness of his Facebook post, apologized to the community and tried to make amends, it might have been a different story.  What’s even more interesting is that Adamson said that he did apologize to other groups, like the NAACP, in private.  This apology should have been public.

What do you think?  Anything I’m missing?  Let me know in the comments!

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