‘Darren Wilson Day’ Post Causes Controversy
A post on a Missouri police officers association’s Facebook page commemorating “Darren Wilson Day” has drawn criticism.
Some residents of Columbia, Missouri, a city housed an hour and a half northwest of St. Louis criticized the post.
The city’s mayor and police department have also expressed disdain for the post, which honors the former officer who fatally shot Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri.
The shooting sparked massive protests in not just the region, but the country. Several peace gatherings were executed in a call for better treatment of Blacks by police.
The “Darren Wilson Day” post appeared on Aug. 9, exactly one-year after the shooting. It included a message that said the organization’s support for Wilson had nothing to do with race, but “the fact that he was thoroughly investigated…and BOTH investigations found he did NOTHING wrong.”
According to a Columbia Tribune report, the post also called Wilson an “innocent, but persecuted, officer.”
Roughly 20 protesters gathered in front of the Columbia Police Department headquarters on Saturday.
Police Chief Ken Burton attended the gathering and called the post “offensive.”
“I found the post offensive, and I thought I needed to stand with the community and say what the police department thinks about it,” Burton said at the protest. “It was insensitive at best, and provocative at worst.”
The Facebook post also drew criticism from Columbia’s Mayor Bob McDavid, who referred to the post as “insensitive and divisive.” In a separate Facebook post, the mayor emphasized that the police association is not part of city government.
“This is not the first time that CPOA has reflected poorly on the brave and dedicated men and women of the Columbia Police Department,” McDavid wrote.
The police department released the following statement about the post:
“[It] has served to inflame the emotions of some in our community. The Columbia Police Department is a separate entity from CPOA and does not in any way condone the use of social media, or any other medium, to promote divisive messages in our community.”
The Columbia Police Officers Association is a trade union formed in 1975, according to the organization’s webpage.