San Jose police officer fired for series of tweets

A police officer in San Jose was fired after making a series of tweets related to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as well as alluding to other cases of police violence.

Until his firing, officer Phillip White was a police officer in San Jose.  According to published reports, White was, “a well-regarded member of SJPD for over two decades and was heavily involved in youth outreach, particularly with anti-gang programs.”  The fact that he was well regarded, and involved in worthy programs, makes his firing even sadder, and his poor judgement even stranger.

The tweets in question?

Yeah, that’s definitely pretty bad.  The second tweet is particularly egregious; it’s as if Officer White was invited people to attack him.  The “can’t breathe” reference is to Eric Garner, who was killed by the NYPD while screaming, “I can’t breathe!”  Reports also note that these were not the first controversial tweets posted by Officer White, who had responded to others, complaining of excessive force used by the police.

Regardless of his intentions, the San Jose Police Department found that the tweets would have permanently effected White’s ability as a police officer, and as such, he was let go.  Officer White thus becomes the latest police officer to be fired as a result of his controversial social media use when it comes to #BlackLivesMatter and other related movements.

The lesson, as always, remains the same: Public officials, including paid, non-elected employees, have to uphold a higher standard, and must be very, very careful with what kind of content they put on social media.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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