St. Louis-area officer fired after Facebook comments on Ferguson protests
(CNN) — A St. Louis-area police officer has been fired after making what his chief called “very concerning and inappropriate” Facebook comments on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, according to a city official.
“These protesters should be put down like a rabid dog the first night,” Matthew Pappert, a police officer in the city of Glendale, wrote in one post, according to CNN affiliate KMOV. There were reportedly five inappropriate posts, KMOV said.
Pappert was originally suspended on August 22 after the comments came to light. An inquiry was initiated that day.
“Officer Pappert was dismissed following the conclusion of the investigation,” Glendale City Administrator Jaysen Christensen said. “Our focus at this point is to move past this, and turn the focus back to healing in the City (sic) of Ferguson.”
Glendale, like Ferguson, is a municipality in St. Louis County. The two suburbs are about 15 miles apart.
In announcing a week ago that Pappert had been suspended, Glendale Police Chief Jeffrey Beaton cited what he called “very concerning and inappropriate posts on his personal Facebook page,” according to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, an online news outlet in the area.
Police have come under fire for their heavy-handed response to the protests in Ferguson that followed the shooting death earlier this month of an unarmed black teenager by a white Ferguson police officer.
An attorney for Pappert issued a statement saying the officer was sorry for his comments.
“Officer Pappert is deeply remorseful about what he posted on social media,” his lawyer, William Goldstein, said. “We ask for (the) same spirit of forgiveness and the opportunity for redemption.”
Pappert was not the only police officer in the region suspended for comments that were perceived as offensive.
Dan Page, an officer with the St. Louis County Police Department, was caught on camera pushing CNN’s Don Lemon. He was placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced of him ranting about the Supreme Court and Muslims, among other things.
He also refers on the video to Barack Obama as “that illegal alien who claims to be our President.”