LPD officer on administrative leave following Facebook posts abo - FOX34 Lubbock

LPD officer on administrative leave, dept. reviewing 'East side rabble' post

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Within hours of learning a 15-year veteran of the Lubbock Police Department appeared to have made disparaging comments about East Lubbock on Facebook, Police Chief Floyd Mitchell hosted a news conference announcing the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The chief said he will not hesitate to take action.

"His actions were disparaging, they were rude and they do not represent the majority of the men and women" of the LPD, Mitchell said. The chief later explained the investigation will look into whether these comments from a member of the force put lives or property at risk, considering the tension and violence seen in other parts of the country, including officers who have been injured or killed over the past week.

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope applauded the chief and the department for quick action. 

The department did not name the officer and a public information officer said it does not comment on personnel matters. Screen grabs widely shared on social media show the comment made by a Facebook account of Aaron Spann. Chief Mitchell said internal affairs is reviewing whether these comments are a violation of the department's code of conduct:

“These protests start as peaceful and lawful. Then they get overrun by trash trying to start crap. Happened Sunday night here in Lubbock. The first 2 hours were just fine. Then the east side rabble showed up yelling ‘f):&:! The police’ and ran the good protestors [sic] out They started trying to illicit a response from us. This is what’s happening across the country. Those are the facts.”

Click here - to watch full video of Tuesday's news conference.

The post is in reference to protests that were largely peaceful the last few days at the Tim Cole Memorial statue at 19th Street and University Avenue. Two people were arrested Saturday, after one man tackled another man who approached the crowd with a rifle. Our news crew did hear "f*** the police!" chants just before 9 p.m. Sunday, near the end of the scheduled protest.

RELATED: Peaceful protests in Lubbock over the weekend
RELATED: 100 Black Men of West Texas, LPD march in solidarity

Chief Mitchell said the post "is not appropriate. It's not how we treat people, it's not how we train". He explained everyone has a right to share their opinion, but officers and members of the police force are held to a higher standard. 

"Our words have meaning," Chief Mitchell said. "They have emphasized meaning."

Next to Chief Mitchell at PD headquarters were other African American community leaders. Reggie Dial of the 100 Black Men of West Texas said he was at a loss for words, feeling hurt, frustrated and mad.

"This happened in my city. The city I grew up in," Dial said. "It's just so heartbreaking that an incident like this can take away from the great event, the great solidarity walk that we had yesterday."

Dial stressed this one incident should not take away from "everything we've accomplished" and urged citizens to be patient for the investigation's results and to not take this out on other members of the LPD. He said "this was one bad guy".

A.J. McCleod thanked police leadership for "taking action when action is needed". 

"We're glad our town is having a peaceful protest," McCleod said.

User: AJ To: link


Bill Stubblefield, a local pastor and Lubbock ISD School Board trustee, credited the Community Engagement Task Force, which he said provided input that led to the hiring of Chief Mitchell last year. 

Chief Mitchell said the department will re-emphasize its social media policy to all members. And the investigation will look into whether the comment was made while the officer was on-duty, which could be a potential violation. Mitchell said he made a brief phone call to the officer, informing him of the investigation.

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