State Watch

Officer fired for saying it’s ‘unfortunate’ more black people didn’t die of coronavirus

A police officer in Kaplan, La., was fired following a comment he allegedly made on social media saying it was “unfortunate” more black people haven’t died from the coronavirus outbreak.

The officer, Steven Aucoin, wrote the comment Friday in a live Facebook chat on Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (D) press conference stream, a local CBS affiliate KLFY reported.

Following a comment from one user that read, “Virus that was created to kill all the blacks is death,” Aucoin wrote, “Well it didn’t work,” followed by a separate comment: “How unfortunate.”

Kaplan Police Chief Joshua Hardy said the behavior of Aucoin would not be tolerated in the department and fired him following an investigation of the social media thread.

“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, according to the report.

KLFY reported Louisiana native Joshua Brothers, a firefighter and army veteran, said Aucoin’s comment could have been taken out of context due to a new feature on Facebook’s website.

“The newest update … doesn’t put the comments in consecutive order like it used to. It’s not a timeline thing. Relevant, newer comments might be above. Some comments aren’t listed at all,” Brothers said.

Brothers added, ​”I just want to see the true story brought out to light, you know, regardless of what it is. But I don’t believe that was his intent.”

One Kaplan resident, Victoria Verdun, stood up for Aucoin, saying that his termination was a mistake, KLFY reported.

“He’s the only one that follows the rule book. He doesn’t yell or curse at you like other officers do, and I just don’t think it’s right. He’s far from a racist,” she added.

According to the report, the department said it investigated the entire thread following notification from Aucoin’s remarks.

“There were some comments that were further up that was not suitable for a police officer to put up on Facebook,” Hardy said.

The Kaplan Police Department posted on Facebook May 15 about Aucoin’s comments, apologizing to the public and announcing the officer’s termination.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Facebook Joshua Hardy Social media Steven Aucoin

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