An Oklahoma police department has been the center of scrutiny over its handling of a case involving one of its officers and a racially fueled attack on NFL protests.
The Verdigris Police Department had been receiving so many complaints from the public on social media this past week that administrators chose to take the VPD Facebook page down. At the heart of the controversy was outrage over a message traced back to part-time officer Brandon Jarvis, which read: “Precisely why I don’t watch the NFL bunch of f**king overpaid greasy headed moon crickets expecting everything for nothing!! It would make my day to b***h slap the Jerry juice outta every one of em’s hair!!” [A ‘moon cricket’ by the way, is a derogatory term that was used in reference to African-Americans during the period of chattel slavery when plantation owners commonly heard spirituals being sung through the night.]
After the department’s page was deactivated, Verdigris Police Chief Jack Shackelford responded to calls for him to fire Jarvis by citing his rights, stating “I can’t arbitrarily fire someone because of social media pressure.” But while Shackelford maintains that the incident remains under investigation, he has also suggested that the department must take Jarvis’ word for it that his account was hacked. “We’ve got no evidence that it was or wasn’t … I don’t know that we’ve got the technology to determine whether it has been hacked or not,” Shackelford is reported as stating.
What’s more, Shackelford is on record as adding that Jarvis stands to face one of any number of repercussions, should it be discovered that indeed it was he who posted the message. Jarvis could be suspended, terminated, or be summoned to “some personal counseling by me in the use of social media,” Shackelford reportedly says.