A police chief in Louisville, Kentucky, is at the centre of an internal investigation after she was reported to have sent an email saying Black Lives Matter members should “be the ones washing our cars”.
A police spokesman, Lamont Washington, told NBC News on Thursday that the department was looking into the email, saying there was "no other comment to offer."
Ms Hallahan’s comments came to light on Tuesday, when a Louisville-based reporter, Phillip Bailey, shared screenshots that were handed to him by an unnamed source.
The email, which opens with a complaint about public criticism of the police department, warns LMPD officers about “validating” demonstrations against racism and police brutality seen since the department was accused of killing Breonna Taylor, a 26-year old Black woman, in March.
"These ANTIFA and BLM people, especially the ones who just jumped on the bandwagon 'yesterday' because they became 'woke' (insert eye roll here), do not deserve a second glance or thought from us," reads the email. "Our little pinky toenails have more character, morals, and ethics, than these punks have in their entire body."
“Do not stoop to their level. Do not respond to them. If we do, we only validate what they did. Don't make them important, because they are not,” Ms Hallahan wrote. “They will be the ones washing our cars, cashing us out at the Walmart, or living in their parents' basement playing COD [Call of Duty] for their entire life."
How frustrated is @LMPD?
A law enforcement source got me this August message from Maj. Bridget Hallahan to 5th Div. (Highland) officers calling protesters "punks" who "will be the ones washing our cars, cashing us out at the @Walmart or living" with their parents. #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/X5YhcycgGI
— Philmonger (@phillipmbailey) September 23, 2020
The email ends with the police chief encouraging LMPD officers to visit her office to “b***h” and “vent” about the demonstrations.
Ms Hallahan’s email was shared widely on Wednesday, as a court decided not to charge LMPD officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor during a drugs raid carried-out at the wrong address, in which the woman’s boyfriend fired at police.
Taking to Twitter, Louisville residents condemned the police chief’s email, with one resident, Nicole Griffin, asking: “How is this helpful? I don't know one soul who is in Antifa??? And if they wash cars or cash someone out at Walmart there's no shame in that!"
Antifa, the name attributed to an organised movement of left-wing activists, has repeatedly been cited by Republicans and president Donald Trump as the source of violence seen at some protests, without evidence.