A police training officer in Louisiana is on leave and facing administrative investigation for comments he made on social media about the death of unarmed Minneapolis man George Floyd, according to the Shreveport Police Department.
Sgt. Brent Mason was suspended early Thursday, the Shreveport Times confirmed, citing the department.
A now-deleted Facebook post allegedly authored by Mason is the subject of scrutiny. In it, the officer made plain his views about the actions of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death, according to screenshots shared on social media.
Shreveport Police Officer Brent Mason took to social media and offered his opinion regarding the death of George Floyd,...Posted by KOKA The Heart of Gospel on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Fiery protests have rocked Minneapolis since chilling video released May 25 showed one of the officers with his knee pinned against the victim’s neck as he struggled for breath. Floyd died from his injuries, and the officers were fired a short time later, McClatchy News reported.
In his post, Mason argued the incident was a “mistake or a misstep — not an act of murder.” The post also featured a photo of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
“I have been training Police for over 12yrs now and with more than 25 years of service,” he wrote. “This is a common mistake and poor technique often made by Police Officers. Normally this mistake does not result in death.”
Mason added that Minneapolis had “jumped the gun” by firing the officers, and claimed Floyd likely had “health conditions and toxics in his blood” that contributed to his death. Authorities have revealed no proof of this claim.
“Wow ... where is the innocent until proven guilty!!?? Minnesota??” he concluded.
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond addressed the comments during a Thursday news conference.
“I am aware of a Facebook post issued by one of our members expressing his opinion of the video that depicted several minutes of the altercation that ultimately resulted in the death of Mr. Floyd,” Raymond told reporters. “When I was sent a copy of the post yesterday evening, I immediately reached out to the officer and had him redact the post, which he has done.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, the department added that the “views expressed by individual officers on their personal social media accounts do not reflect the views or values of the Shreveport Police Department.”
The views expressed by individual officers on their personal social media accounts do not reflect the views or values of...Posted by Shreveport Police Department on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Department policy allows officers to have personal web pages, but urges employees to exercise “good judgment and demonstrate personal accountability when choosing to participate on social networking sites and other online forums,” according to a copy of the policy obtained by the Shreveport Times.
Mason remains on leave pending an investigation.