We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct.
This my friends is an example of why the Los Angeles Police Department continues to have problems with race internally and externally.
Meet LAPD Officer Jonathan Dallas Johnson, another troubled seed in the LAPD.
So why is Officer Johnson important and why should you care about his Facebook page?
First, Blacks who apply to join the LAPD who are otherwise qualified for the job of police officer are routinely disqualified for two reasons—psychological or credit problems. So at the end of the day while they may qualify in all other areas that matter, they won’t get the job because the LAPD has deemed them along the hiring process as emotionally unstable and or likely to commit some type of misconduct involving theft or extortion of money.
Second, everyone who uses Facebook knows that the image you choose as your profile image is the image that you use to represent who you are as a person to the rest of the world.
Which leads me to back to Officer Johnson. While the LAPD obviously cleared this man to patrol the streets of Los Angeles, it’s quite clear that he suffers from psychological and possibly emotional issues as it relates to African-Americans–hence the picture this police officer, who I’m pretty sure isn’t Black, choose as his Facebook profile image. Does the LAPD consider racism a psychological or emotional issue and if so, why do so many of their white officers seem to be afflicted by this disease? Add to that, how does a man like Officer Johnson make it through the hiring process without his racism ever being detected?
Now while the rest of corporate America has dedicated countless resources to monitoring their employees and prospective employees online behavior, the LAPD chooses to turn a blind eye to it. I’m almost 100 percent positive that Officer Johnson isn’t the only officer with blatantly racist content on his or her personal Facebook profile. So while the LAPD is always talking about ramping up their monitoring of social media websites, they might want to start with their own employees.
Last December a Pleasantville, NY village police officer was been suspended and might be fired after posting a racist, obscenity-laced rant about President Obama on his Facebook page.
In October, the police chief in Austin, Texas, suspended a detective for 10 days for posting what he called sensitive law-enforcement information — photos of interrogations and crash scenes — on his Facebook page.
Last year, 17 New York City cops were suspended for posting racist and offensive comments on a Facebook page devoted to the city’s 2011 West Indian Day Parade.
In 2009, three Harrison, N.Y., police officers were suspended and demoted after making lewd comments about then-Supervisor Joan Walsh and swapping racist jokes about Obama.
Those episodes and similar incidents across the country have prompted many police and government agencies to adopt social media policies for their employees. The LAPD does not have such a policy that I know of. If they do, why then is Officer Jonathan Dallas Johnson allowed to post buffoonery images of African-Americans that help to perpetuate the most negative stereotypes of Blacks on his Facebook page?
What if I had been someone who wanted to look up the police officer who helped me and say thank you? What if I had been a teenaged Black boy who Officer Johnson passed his business card to and I wanted to follow up on how I could join the LAPD’s Cadet Program and decided to look for him on Facebook? What if I was the African-American police officer who just transferred to Hollywood Division and wanted to add my new colleague on Facebook? That’s why it matters.
I mean could you imagine the fallout if this were a politician’s personal Facebook page instead of a police officer’s?
It matters because on or off the job, LAPD officers are expected to carry themselves in a certain way. What Officer Johnson’s Facebook page is telling me as an African-American resident of the city of Los Angeles is that along with white police officers like Shaun Hillman who like to get drunk and pull out guns on Black men in bars while referring to them as Black monkeys and white detectives like Frank Lyga who like to brag about killing Black police officers, I’ve now also got to look out for the white police officer who uses Facebook to share his racism with his colleagues–and if he’s stupid enough to have his page public–with me too.