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ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

June 3, 2019

ACLU of Florida calls for internal investigation following racist and bigoted remarks on Facebook.

MIAMI - An investigation from Buzzfeed News reveals that dozens of officers in Lake County, Fla., have used Facebook as a platform to celebrate police violence and make demeaning and racist remarks about people of color and the communities they are tasked with serving. These comments are directly related to their ability to do their jobs, and so not protected speech under the First Amendment.

Responding to the investigation, Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida said:

“The accountability of police to the communities they serve is still elusive in many places. That seems to be the case for officers in Lake County following Buzzfeed’s investigation into dozens of officer’s racist and bigoted remarks directed towards the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.

“Trust in the police by communities of color has been eroded for decades because of excessive policing, fatal shootings of unarmed Black and brown people, police abuses, hostility, and brazenly racist behavior. We are deeply disturbed by the celebration of police violence that is rampant on these Facebook pages. But this report only exposes those who chose not to hide their hate and views behind privacy walls. These posts clearly reveal these officers are not fit to serve the public, but how many more officers in Lake County, and throughout Florida, hold these same views?

The culture of policing needs to change. These officers need to be held accountable, but this report exposes a problem that is deeper than just the officers listed in the database or this story. We call for real action - police reform and policy changes in policing that will make more officers accountable for their actions and end the epidemic of police violence in Black and brown communities. Officers who publicly celebrate racism or violence by the police are unable to do the job that taxpayers hired them to do and they should be dismissed from their job.”

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