Little Rock, AR – The Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) fired a newly hired police officer for a Facebook post she made when she was 16 years old.
LRPD fired 25-year-old Katina Jones, who was due to graduate from the police academy this week, for posting lyrics to a Lil Wayne song on her Facebook page more than nine years ago.
The lyrics in question contained a word considered offensive to black people, but Jones is black.
Jones had made her Facebook page private when she entered the police academy, but another recruit hacked it and turned Jones in.
"They said, 'Well, you didn't clear everything out and you had that offensive word. You're fired,'" said Jones’ attorney Robert Newcomb.
He said the city wants to recruit more minorities, and that Jones was the perfect example of what the department needed in its ranks.
"The city justifiably wants more African Americans, and here was an African American female that they invested thousands and thousands of dollars in that was doing well," he said.
"Do we judge the chief and others by the type of music they listen to?" Newcomb asked. "What they need to learn from the absurd position taken by the Little Rock Police Department is that they need to just do away with it [Facebook profile] and give up that [First Amendment] right."
The Facebook police have been very busy at the LRPD recently.
It all began in late November of 2017 when recruit Brandon Gurley complained to a sergeant about another recruit’s 2013 Facebook post of a sleeping black man with the comment “Go night night n***a. Go night night.”
The sergeant referred his complaint to the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association, who in turn demanded the police chief fire recruit Brandon Schiefelbein.
But LRPD thought the four-year-old media post was so egregious that Schiefelbein would not be a good police officer, and they fired him.
Gurley had also reported Jones for the Lil Wayne lyrics, and she was fired shortly after Schiefelbein.
But Gurley didn’t get a chance to celebrate knocking out the competition in his police academy class because it turned out that he had also used the same n-word multiple times on his own Facebook page back in 2010.
"Both of these were done when both individuals were younger," Newcomb wrote. "If it is conduct unbecoming for one, it would be conduct unbecoming for the other."
He said there was no other evidence anywhere else on Schiefelbein’s social media accounts that he was a racist.
Schiefelbein took down the offending Facebook post, and Gurley appeared to accept the apology, in a text exchange Newcomb included in his letter to chief.
LRPD fired Gurley for inappropriate social media posts, and lying.
Newcomb was investigating whether the department broke any laws in firing the recruits, and has asked the city board members and managers to look into it, WAVY reported.