Sikeston DPS officer resigns following social media posts

Updated: Sep. 13, 2019 at 11:33 AM CDT
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SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - An officer with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, who was placed on administrative leave, has resigned.

Chief James McMillen said the officer, a 20-year veteran of the department, resigned Friday morning, Sept. 13 after making anti-Islamic posts on a public Facebook account.

In a statement, Chief McMillen said “the officer in question realized this and knew we had to part ways” and turned in his equipment after giving a verbal resignation.

According to Chief McMillen, the citizen who made the initial complaint about the posts was informed about the officer’s resignation.

The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) will reportedly be informed of the officer’s resignation as part of the investigation.

According to Chief McMillen, an internal investigation into the officer in question ended with his resignation from the department.

Chief McMillen said the citizen who made the complaint had concerns about the employee’s alleged inflammatory statements on Facebook and him being employed with the city.

“I have to say when I first saw that I was shocked and severely disappointed that one of our officers would post a comment directed at a religion like that is was just really disappointing," said McMillen.

The Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said they sent copies of the comments to department officials, leading to the investigation. They identified the person who posted the comments as a DPS officer.

CAIR released a statement on Thursday.

“We thank Sikeston Department of Public Safety officials for taking this matter seriously and acting promptly to take initial action pending the results of their investigation. This incident is yet another example of the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry we have witnessed in the current toxic and divisive political environment.”

According to the group, the comments included: “I get to choose whom I dislike and it just so happens to be all muslims [sic] and their beliefs.”

“What if the officer pulled over a Muslim woman with a head scarf or a man with a big beard how would he treat that individual? We believe that is not appropriate for any kind of police officer and people with that belief should not be serving in that position," added Syed.

They said other comments included calling for the deportation of American Muslims and calling the Quran, “filthy koran [sic],” and Islam a “filthy religion.”

The officer in question was placed on administrative leave after an investigation into the complaint began.

McMillen said he takes the complaint very seriously and there is a social media policy.

“The expectation is that you are a public figure and regardless if you are on duty or off duty. You represent this agency and anything you say can negatively affect us and this mission that we have to do over again. We hold them responsible for what they post," said McMillen.

Chief McMillen says the person who reported the post did the right thing by bringing it to their attention, because they want to make sure all of their officers are doing unbiased policing.

In a statement, Chief McMillen said “We will continue to demand excellence in our officers and we urge citizens to make us aware of any issues they feel need to be addressed.”

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