Mt. Morris, MI – Law enforcement officers conducting a “drug sweep” at the request of a Michigan high school were surprised to find handmade “police brutality” posters plastered to the wall outside a social studies classroom.
Detective Christopher Weber posted photos of the posters on social media on Tuesday night, and blasted the school district for “perpetuating the narrative, lies and victimhood” regarding supposed excessive force by law enforcement.
“The school administration there requested several K9 teams to do a drug sweep, which is common practice for many schools in Genesee County,” Det. Weber told Blue Lives Matter on Friday. “I learned from some of the K9 teams about the posters… and [I] asked to post their pictures in the interest of sharing what, in my opinion, is subject matter inappropriate for a high school.”
The posters were the product of an Elisabeth Ann Johnson High School project regarding the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools Superintendent Renae Galsterer told WNEM.
Galsterer explained that students created the posters as their final assignment for the class.
While some students chose to focus on “police brutality,” others featured topics including “Terry Frisk, compare and contrast of Miranda rights, [and] specific court cases related to the amendments,” she said.
Galsterer noted that the posters were never intended to offend anyone, then blamed the officers for “not having investigated further before posting to social media,” Det. Weber, a nine-year department veteran, told Blue Lives Matter.
“The officer that took this photo didn't speak to any school employee about it prior to posting it to social media and commenting on it,” Galsterer told WNEM. “Had we known that an officer [or officers] were offended and upset we would have taken it as a learning opportunity--both for our adults involved and students.”
She then boasted of her “positive and open professional relationship” with local law enforcement.
“I would always ask that we be given the opportunity to have a conversation, prior to a social media post, if and when we have hurt and offended,” the superintendent said, adding that the posters have been taken down.
“Certainly there was no ill intent or disrespect meant by these posters. I sincerely apologize for any message of disrespect or misinformation that was interpreted by the photos or my students' projects,” Galsterer said. “That was never the intent, and the posters have been removed so that we can study them and create adjustments in future work.”
Det. Weber told Blue Lives Matter that, although the superintendent’s response “respectful and thoughtful,” it also “lacked empathy.”
“The superintendent, faculty and many students are effectively doubling down on the insult [by arguing] that I should have investigated further,” he said. “I accept no obligation to do that in order to feel disgusted by this.”
Det. Weber explained that he has an immense amount of respect for the “amazing” teachers in the district.
“I fully understand the plight of our teachers, who are amazing, particularly for this area,” he said. “To me, this issue is part of a broader issue of what is being ‘normalized’ for our youth—in the entire country.”
Det. Weber said he believes the curriculum should be altered to reflect that instances of police brutality are a rarity, and that extensive discussion of the issue has skewed the public’s perception and caused many to believe that excessive force is a regularly-occurring problem.
“It simply isn’t a large enough societal problem to merit much discussion,” he explained. “Many students obviously have an opinion that diverges from that reality, so cancel the glamorized, juvenile, poster-making entirely.”
“I think what’s missing from either the assignment, or the students’ comprehension, is math. Based on the content of the posters, the students aren’t being taught multi-varied studies that contradict their sensationalism,” the detective added.
In his post, Det. Weber explained that Galsterer's apology - coupled with her admonishing him for not coming to her with his concerns - ultimately proved his point about biases and misguided beliefs towards the law enforcement community.
"What is missing from the conversation is several years of Americans growing frustrated with a certain ‘brand’ of political influence and mantra that is dividing us," Det. Weber's post read. "Our youth shouldn’t have to take any of that under consideration for a school project, which is exactly why the project is misguided, no MATTER WHAT ITS INTENT."
"If you didn’t think it would be offensive for this to be on display when several officers arrived to assist you; if your first inclination is to shame another police officer for their disgust with this and in the same breath apologizing—Ms. Galsterer—you have much more progress to be made with respect to police-community relations," Det. Weber noted.
He then drew a comparison between instances of excessive force and the frequency of sexual relationships between students and teachers.
“I think that if the teacher wanted guidance on what changes to make for future assignments, he should ask himself what would be appropriate for covering teacher-student sexual misconduct,” Det. Weber told Blue Lives Matter. “I hate to use that analogy, but it might inspire these misguided educators to make lesson plans commensurate with the true scope of the problem."