A Millersville police officer has been terminated over what officials are saying were inappropriate social media posts concerning a planned protest, in part against the city’s police department.
Dozens of peaceful protesters showed up at City Hall on Thursday night - some toting Black Lives Matter signs, along with some local residents who came out to voice their opposition.
The protest was widely publicized through social media and City officials said one of their own – Police Officer Robert “Bobby” Black – may have helped to instigate the gathering, which forced them to use taxpayer monies.
An official memo dated Sept. 14, from Millersville City Manager Holly Murphy to Black reads:
“In response to your request for the reason you were terminated from your position of Police Officer on Sept. 11, 2020, The City of Millersville has determined that you are the person responsible for false and defamatory postings on social media in which you encouraged members of the public to attend a protest in Millersville on Sept. 17, 2020.
“These posts have been shared multiple times, and there is no way we can know at this time whether a large crowd will in fact show up at City Hall this coming Thursday evening.
“As a result of your actions, the City has been forced to incur expenses and devote resources to prepare for a potentially large and unruly mob of angry protesters. Your conduct has put the lives and property of our citizens in danger.”
Mayor Tim Lassiter declined to comment on the officer’s termination, confirming only that the letter from Murphy was sent to Black. As for the protest, the mayor said the event was respectful on both sides.
“It went as well as it could have possibly went,” Lassiter said. “Everybody minded their manners - there was no interaction with the police.
“The protesters and those protesting (against them) communicated back and forth, but everything was peaceful and there was zero damage done (to property).”
This is the second incidence in recent months that a law enforcement officer in Robertson County has been reprimanded for social media posts.
In late May, officer Corey Tidwell of the Greenbrier Police Department, resigned his position after being placed on leave for what officials called an inappropriate Facebook posting laced with profanity regarding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.