SALEM, Mass. (CBS) — Salem police placed a captain on administrative leave for an “unauthorized” tweet sent from the department’s Twitter account Monday that criticized the Boston protests over George Floyd’s death. The employee who sent the tweet, Captain Kate Stephens, oversees the department’s Professional Standards Division.
The tweet tagged Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, saying “so you issued a permit for 10 of thousands of people to protest but I can’t go to a restaurant? You are ridiculous. You and Too Tall Deval are killing this State.”
A Twitter user shared a screenshot of the tweet, which was quickly deleted.
so, this just came out from the Salem police department and was immediately deleted. this doesn't inspire confidence in the people who are supposed to be protecting us. @MayorDriscoll pic.twitter.com/TNNsTb43l9
— Marissa Emanuele (@HiThisIsMarissa) June 1, 2020
“The posting of personnel commentary and opinions on the Department’s social media account is not only against our internal policies, it undermines the public trust and confidence that we, as a Police Department, have worked so hard to achieve here in Salem,” Chief Mary Butler said in a statement. “It is even more concerning that these comments come from someone in a leadership position within the Department.”
There’s an ongoing investigation that will “include recommendations as to how to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” Butler said.
“These comments are uncalled for at any time, but they are particularly egregious at this time when the public is questioning the fairness, equity and legitimacy of the police and their actions,” she said.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said she was “appalled” by the tweet.
“This is completely inappropriate and does not represent the position or values of the City of Salem or the Salem Police Department,” Driscoll said.
Stephens will be subject to a hearing that will determine disciplinary action, Butler said.