SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An internal investigation has been launched into a Springfield Police officer, following a controversial social media post including a photo of a George Floyd memorial.
Councilor Justin Hurst told 22News it was important to bring to light because there is no place for posts like this in the Springfield Police Department, saying it’s “egregious.”
“I think this needs to be changed from the inside out,” said Hurst. “I don’t feel any differently than I did 2-3 years ago. It is a problem that is going to continue to occur, we just have to do better, and Springfield deserves better.”
City leaders are calling the Facebook post allegedly made by police officer Hector Santiago “unacceptable.” The post includes a controversial photo of a George Floyd memorial. After being brought to light by Councilor Hurst, Commissioner Clapprood responded to it with a statement in part:
“This type of divisive behavior is inconsistent with the expectations of a Springfield Police officer and only deepens the divide and sense of mistrust that pervades our society right now.”
She added that the officer in question has been on inside duty due to an injury.
The city of Springfield has a strict social media policy which has led to the firing of several city employees in the past. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno telling 22News the investigation needs to be completed first, but he has zero-tolerance for these situations.
“You have to go through the investigation, but I’ve been very consistent on these social media posts,” said Mayor Sarno. “Insensitive, inappropriate. It’s just completely unbelievable.”
Both Sarno and Clapprood are looking into additional cultural sensitivity and diversity training for the department. Commissioner Clapprood said she will wait until the internal investigation is completed to take action.