In a sign of tensions between local law enforcement and police-reform activists, a San Diego group says it has traced a furious, ALL CAPS, expletive-laden message sent through its website to the county sheriff's office.
"THIS WEBSITE IS A BUNCH OF STUPID BULLSHIT," the message read. "COUNTRY WILL ALWAYS PREVAIL OVER SCUM LIKE YOU."
Check out the "Name":
The group that received the message, United Against Police Terror, used an IP tracker to track the message to the San Diego County Sheriff's Office. It was delivered through the Contact page of the group's website.
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In a statement issued to Fusion, the San Diego Sheriff's Office said:
It appears the email came from a Sheriff's Department IP address. We are taking this very seriously and an internal investigation is underway to determine where, how and who it came from. As such, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time, but we are taking this matter very seriously.
United Against Police Terror has helped organize marches and demonstrations, sometimes blocking traffic and standing off with police, according to local press. Its Tumblr page says it's "dedicated to Intersectionally educating and organizing the community to fight back in San Diego."
It's not the only recent case of an officer making an unwise decision to let out some frustration online.
Last month in Flint, Mi., a police officer was fired after he made incendiary comments on his personal Facebook page while he was on duty.
Under a story about a double shooting in the city, Robert Garceau wrote: "Keep purging society of these maggots. Two less welfare, food stamp people. Keep it up."
Garceau has threatened to file a lawsuit, claiming his firing is a violation of his freedom of speech. Police say he violated the department's social media policy and the department's code of conduct.
"Officer Garceau's comments were mean and divisive and promote violence at a time when our community is struggling to cope with many senseless, violent acts including acts against an innocent 1-year-old and his 70-year-old godmother," Flint Police Chief James Tolbert said.
Separately, Garceau is part of a pending racial discrimination lawsuit, in which he claims he was discriminated against because he is white.
The most egregious example is a prosecutor involved with the notorious case of officers who shot at New Orleans residents as they tried to cross a bridge in the days following Hurricane Katrina. The prosecutor, Sal Perricone, regularly commented under articles on NOLA.com under four pseudonyms, a Justice Department investigation found. Under one article about his office's own bridge shooting case, he posted:
The only police force to use deadly force throughout the city was the venerable NOPD. Perhpas [sic] we would be safer if the NOPD would leave the next hurricans [sic] and let the National Guard assume all law enforcement duties. GUILTY AS CHARGED.
Perricone's meddling in the public discourse surrounding the case was taken so seriously that a judge threw out all the convictions of the officers. Last month an appeals court upheld the ruling. A retrial is forthcoming.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.