MINDEN, La. (KSLA) - Minden’s police chief says he has asked one of his officers to resign and will ask another to do the same.
“I want to do what’s best for the department, the citizens; and this was the only option I had,” Police Chief Steve Cropper told KSLA News 12 on Wednesday.
His actions come amid an uproar over reportedly racist Facebook posts allegedly made by the two officers.
Cropper said he has asked for Officer Shane Griffith to resign.
And the police chief plans to ask Griffith’s brother, Shawn Griffith, to do the same when that officer returns from vacation.
“It’s been my worst three days in law enforcement after three decades in the field,” Cropper concluded.
Many of the posts in question are dated from 2012 and 2015, before the two officers were hired.
The posts have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.
And they haven’t been proven to have been written by the brothers.
Earlier this week, a councilman told KSLA News 12 that he and others will continue to push for the officers’ badges as well as changes to policies governing how the city handles accusations like this.
“As a councilman in this town, my job is to protect the citizens and help the citizens of this community. I’m pushing for termination,” District A’s Herbert Taylor III said. “Something needs to be done whether it’s six years, 12 years, anything. When statements like that are made, you can’t take it back. And how can the people trust you?”
Taylor said his constituents sent him screenshots of the comments Monday and have been calling him to express concerns.
He said he was disturbed, appalled and outraged by what appears to be written in the posts about African-Americans.
On Tuesday, the police chief told KSLA News 12 that he too became aware of the posts Monday morning after a preacher sent them to him.
He said he immediately became very upset and won’t tolerate it.
Cropper said he reached out to the civil service board. He said the board told him if the posts were made before the officers were hired, he legally would be unable to fire or discipline the officers, only counsel them.
The two officers were hired in August 2017 and February 2018, the police chief said.
Cropper said he’s still looking into whether there are posts more recent than 2012 or 2015.
On Tuesday, Minden Mayor Terry Gardner reiterated to KSLA News 12 that Cropper is investigating the matter.
The mayor said his city doesn’t condone or encourage such comments.
Gardner said he’s put a social media policy in place since taking office that prohibits negative comments about the city.
To his knowledge, he said, no one’s broken that since it was put in place in January.
Gardner said the city also recently hired a new company to run background checks on officers.
In light of the alleged Facebook posts, Councilman Taylor described the previous hiring process for officers as flawed.
The City Council recently changed procedures for hiring officers so that council members would have more input in the process.
Council members’ next meeting is set for June 3.
Taylor said there could be a special session called before then for council members to express concerns.
KSLA News 12 reached out to Officer Shane Griffith. He said he cannot comment.