KAPLAN, La. (KLFY) — A Louisiana police officer was fired hours after posting what some have said was a racist comment on Facebook.
The comment was made underneath a live feed of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ press conference Friday.
One commenter posted, “Virus that was created to kill all the blacks is death.”
Kaplan officer Steven Aucoin commented: “Well it didn’t work.” He further commented, “How unfortunate.”
Police Chief Joshua Hardy said such behavior is not tolerated within the department and he fired Aucoin after an investigation.
“We’re held to a higher standard than normal civilians, so you got to watch what you do, you got to watch what you say. You can’t just go and post anything you want on social media,” Hardy said.
Joshua Brothers, a firefighter and Army veteran, said he understands termination for violating social media policies, but, he said, Aucoin’s comments could be a misunderstanding caused by a new Facebook feature.
“The newest update that Facebook does, it doesn’t put the comments in consecutive order like it used to. It’s not a timeline thing,” he said. “Relevant newer comments might be above. Some comments aren’t listed at all.”
Brothers said the screenshot could have been taken out of context.
”I just wanna see the true story brought out to light, you know, regardless of what it is. But I don’t believe that was his intent,” he said.
Kaplan resident Victoria Verdun said the termination was a mistake. She said Aucoin was a good cop when he reported to her home.
“He’s the only one that follows the rulebook. He doesn’t yell or curse at you like other officers do, and I just don’t think it’s right,” she said. “He’s far from a racist. He’s far from rude or whatever else people are calling him. He is just a man trying to provide for his family.”
Authorities said they investigated the entire thread soon after they were notified.
“There were some comments that were further up that was not suitable for a police officer to put up on Facebook,” said Hardy.
He said the department is working to make sure this doesn’t happen again and he has notified his officers of the social media policy.