Shively Police investigating meme allegedly posted on officer's personal Facebook account mocking Charlottesville death
Officer Morris Rinehardt is on paid leave, while the post is investigated.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Shively Police say they have opened up an investigation after a meme was allegedly posted from an officer's personal Facebook account, apparently mocking the violence that took place in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Assistant Shively Police Chief, Lieutenant Colonel Josh Myers, confirms that Officer Morris Rinehardt is on paid leave, as the post is investigated.
Myers says a post on Rinehardt's personal Facebook page was brought to the department's attention on Sunday afternoon. The post is a meme of car with a caption that says "When you were born a Challenger but identify as a Ram." The post appears to be in connection to the death of a woman killed by a car during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Myers said that meme was followed by a comment from another user that included a meme, and another comment allegedly from Rinehardt's account responding to the second meme.
The man arrested in connection with the Charlottesville incident was driving a Dodge Challenger sports car, police said. He's been identified as 20-year-old James Fields Jr.
Myers says Rinehardt allegedly responded with another meme considered offensive. The Facebook account has been taken down.
"Yesterday afternoon -- on Sunday -- it was brought to our attention that there was potentially some insensitive post made to the personal account -- the Facebook account -- of one of our officers, Morris Rinehardt," Myers told reporters Monday afternoon. "It was looked into, and we were able to view some of the things that were mentioned in the information that we'd received. Early this morning, the mayor of Shively, Ms. Sherry Conner, along with Police Chief Kevin Higdon, were briefed on the situation and the posts that were made. Immediately they ordered an internal investigation that is now underway."
"This is an internal investigation," Rinehardt said. "This is not criminal."
Rinehardt has been put on paid administrative leave. Myers said he was informed of the investigation Monday morning, and by law, must be given 48 hours before he can be questioned. He said any penalties could range from a six-day suspension, to termination.
"This is important," Myers said. "The city of Shively and its police department certainly does not condone any inappropriate behavior by its personnel -- anything that is deemed insensitive, racially or otherwise, and certainly anything that shows an indifference to human life. That is not what our department and our city is about. We're a very caring department who has the support of our community, and we support our community. Incidents of this nature just absolutely will not be tolerated within our department."
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