Two St. Landry Parish deputies have left the department - one fired and one who resigned - over social media posts related to the George Floyd incident.
In a related matter, the Breaux Bridge Police Department has initiated an Internal Investigation into an offensive Social Media post made by an employee on the protests. As we reported this weekend, the officer is on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted for violations of Policy and/or Law.
Back in St. Landry Parish, one deputy, who posted several memes, was fired. Among the memes he shared on his Facebook page was one of a semi-truck with what appears to be blood on the front of its cab with the caption "Just drove through Minneapolis, didn't see any protesters." Another joked about a "dying gang member" who wouldn't talk to a police officer.
The other deputy, who resigned, wrote a comment urging those who support violent protests to "go burn down the projects where black on black crimes happen every day."
Here's the complete comment:
Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said both men are accused of violating this policy:
"Empoyees of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office who identify themselves as employees of the agency shall not publish any communication on any social media site which would undermine or tarnish the reputation of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, nor relate themselves with information, opinions, or positions that would bring criticism or embarrassment to the office."
One man was fired, and another resigned after he was asked to come in for an interview regarding a complaint against him. Guidroz said he accepted that resignation in lieu of disciplinary action.
Guidroz said the actions of both men were a disappointment, because his agency teaches cultural diversity classes and provides other training to employees.
"I believe that a law enforcement agency must be disciplined in order for us to be successful, and that effective leaders must be proactive and not reactive," Guidroz said.
While it wasn't a pleasant decision, it wasn't a hard one, either, he said.
"I didn't let this linger on, it was not something I had to think long and hard about," Guidroz said. "I don't make political decisions. My decisions are based on what is right, professional and just."
Guidroz said he feels he has a responsibility to every citizen of St. Landry Parish.
"Leaders have to be the influencers of change. If you're just a follower, you should not be in a position of leadership," he said.