A 13-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department has been suspended without pay for his comment “Act like a Thug Die like one!” in response to a story about slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
Jason Giroir is under investigation by the New Orleans Public Integrity Bureau after a remark was posted on WWLTV.com’s website in response to an article about a rally supporting Martin. The slaying of the 17-year-old, who was shot by a neighborhood watch captain, has drawn nationwide attention.
Giroir has admitted to posting the comment last week. "His statement is, 'Yes, I did it’," Giroir’s lawyer, Eric Hessler, told The Times-Picayune. "He certainly didn't mean it as a racial comment, as an offensive comment, although it came out that way. He acknowledges he should have chosen better words."
Attempts by msnbc.com to reach Hessler for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday. A woman answering telephone calls at his office said Hessler was in court and would return calls later in the day.
New Orleans Superintendent Ronal Serpas announced Giroir’s suspension on Monday.
"To say that I’m angry is an understatement. I’m furious," said Serpas in a statement on Monday. "Let me be clear, the hard working men and women of the NOPD do not condone such statements. Giroir by those statements has embarrassed this department with insensitive, harmful and offensive comments. The New Orleans Police Department specifically condemns these comments, and comments like this will not be tolerated in the New Orleans Police Department."
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu also issued a statement supporting Serpas' action against Giroir, adding, "The people of New Orleans and my administration will not tolerate this reckless and offensive behavior. I condemn his statements in the strongest of terms."
The New Orleans police force created a policy regarding Internet posts a few years ago, which states: “Employees shall not post any material on the Internet -- including but not limited to photos, videos, word documents etc. -- that violates any local, state or federal law and/or embarrasses, humiliates, discredits, or harms the operation and reputation of the police department or any of its members,” WWLTV.com reported.
The probe comes less than a month after Giroir was involved in a deadly shootout on March 1 that is still under investigation.
Giroir made a traffic stop that escalated to a gunfight that left one man dead and two officers injured. Giroir did not fire any shots and was unharmed, but a bullet hit the Taser he was carrying during the shootout.
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