Two Newark police officers have a lot of explaining to do after an exchange on Facebook revealed some unsettling views.
Officials are currently investigating a conversation between an active-duty police lieutenant and a retired cop who referred to Newark’s African-American mayor Ras Baraka as an ape. A screenshot of the conversation was sent to police director Eugene Venable.
The conversation opens with a photo of a gorilla and the following exchange:
"Lmfao....How's your mayor?"
"Exactly!!!!" replied the writer, whose identity is believed to be that of the lieutenant.
“What's particularly disturbing about this incident is that this police official has been on the job for many years and has some amount of influence over the rank and file in the department,” Venable said.
The officers have yet to be revealed as their individual roles in the exchange are still being verified.
“It's unfortunate that this happened and we will not tolerate an atmosphere of bigotry and intolerance anywhere in this administration,” Baraka said. “I still believe we have the best police force in the State of New Jersey.”
This is not the first incident of its kind among the Newark police department. A strict social media policy has been enforced because of reckless commentary by officers in the past.
“The general order was created as the result of several embarrassing instances of online activity by members of the department that were quite racy and somewhat, quite frankly, borderline discriminatory," Venable said. "Violations of the order could result in disciplinary actions, including dismissal."
The lieutenant believed to be involved in the incident is still on active duty as the incident is investigated.
Follow George Chapman Jr. on Twitter: @writefrombk
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(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)