A police officer from the perhaps inappropriately-named Pleasantville, N.Y., has been suspended for posting a racist remark about President Barack Obama on his Facebook page.
“The fact that he (Obama) is still alive bewilders me…Go die in a shallow grave you Muslim commie,” the post read. Racial slurs were also used to describe the President of the United States.
Even though the user who wrote the offending statement obscures its identity with a racially-charged moniker, the Pleasantville Village Board of Trustees identified the poster as veteran officer Peter Burns. Burns was unanimously suspended for 60 days, penalized 25 vacation days, and will attend a mandatory diversity and sensitivity training program and a psychiatric evaluation. He will also be placed on a two-year probation.
“These statements undermine confidence in law enforcement, and they cast doubt on the ability of this officer to fulfill his sworn duties in a fair, unbiased manner,” Mayor Peter Scherer said, underlining why Burns’ Facebook activity resulted in this kind of punishment.
“I want to be clear that the Village has no interest in political beliefs of its employees. We do, however, have a fundamental interest in ensuring that the statements and actions of our employees do not harm their ability to fulfill their responsibilities,” Scherer continued, making a distinction between expressing a political belief on Facebook and saying something offensive that questions a person’s role as an authority figure.
Pleasantville is a small suburb with a population of 7,000, located 30 miles north of New York City. But despite the small size and idyllic location in Westchester County, this isn’t the only racially charged scandal in recent years. In fact, a far more devastating incident occurred in 2010, when a white Pleasantville police officer shot and killed an unarmed, black Pace University student named Danroy Henry Jr.