A police officer in Missouri was suspended Friday after posts on his Facebook compared the people protesting the killing of a black teenager by a police officer on Aug. 9 to "rabid dogs." Matthew Pappert was the latest police officer to be suspended for controversial conduct and comments amid the Ferguson protest in St. Louis area.
The Glendale Police Department reportedly said in a statement that it had suspended one of its officers after learning about the Facebook posts. Pappert, who is from Glendale -- another St Louis suburb -- was reportedly one of the officers called into Ferguson to control the protests. Ferguson saw days of violence as demonstrators protested, looted and vandalized the streets of the city, prompting police to use tear gas and rubber bullets. Missouri governor Jay Nixon eventually deployed the National Guard to restore calm. Protests in Ferguson remained calm on Friday night as about 50 demonstrators returned to the streets, while police officers made no arrests.
"I'm sick of these protesters. You are a burden on society and a blight on the community," Pappert reportedly wrote in one of at least five posts that went up since Sunday.
"These protesters should have been put down like a rabid dog the first night," he added.
The Glendale Police Department criticized the comments and reportedly said in a statement: “The matter is being taken very seriously and a thorough internal investigation will be conducted to determine why the posts were made.”
The department also reportedly said that the posts made by Pappert were “absolutely” not shared by the city government or the local police.
According to The Telegraph, one of the photographers, who were at the site during the protests, recognized Pappert as the officer who had threatened journalists with a stick, saying: “He was ready to swing at us.”
Meanwhile, St. Louis County police officer Dan Page, who reportedly pushed a CNN journalist during a live television coverage in Ferguson last week, was suspended after facing a backlash over a video, uploaded on YouTube in April, showing the officer making racist comments. Page had been responsible for patrolling protests in Ferguson.
Page reportedly described black people as “little perverts” in the video and said: “Policemen are very cynical. I know I am... I hate everybody. I'm into diversity. I kill everybody.”
At another point, he also called President Barack Obama an "illegal alien" and shows a photo of himself in Kenya, saying: "I went to our undocumented president's home. He was born in Kenya."
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the police department said that Chief Jon Belmar had been notified about the video on Friday and was disturbed as he does “not expect this kind of rhetoric from his officers.”
“Chief Belmar, on behalf of the St. Louis County Police Department, would like to apologize to the community, anyone that video has or will affect, and to the other hard-working officers on the detail with the officer in question because they deserve better than that. While the officer has never been involved in an officer-involved shooting, the statements made about killing are unacceptable and not what we are about as a Department.”