Cop Fired For Publicly Celebrating Black Lives Matter Activist’s Suicide
Mar. 10, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — Police Officer Lee Cyr was fired from the Fairborn, Ohio police department on Monday for disparaging comments he wrote on a Facebook post regarding a Black Lives Matter activist’s suicide.
MarShawn McCarrel II, 23, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the Ohio Statehouse steps on February 8th. He was described by local media a “a young man with a message.” Just a week before his suicide, he was honored as a “Hometown Champion” at the NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles. At the age of 19, he and his twin brother started the “Feed the Streets” project and he was a prominent organizer and activist in the “Black Lives Matter” movement in his community. McCarrel’s final post on Facebook read: “My demons won today. I’m sorry.”
After his suicide was reported, the Black Lives Matter Cincinnati Facebook page was inundated with condolences and glowing tributes to the young man. But not everybody was mourning McCarrell’s suicide. Cyr posted, “Love a happy ending,” on the Ohio Politics Facebook page two days after McCarrel’s death. According to the Dayton Daily News, Cyr’s celebratory comments appeared alongside a rash of similarly unsympathetic remarks.
For its part, Fairborn Police acted quickly. Chief Terry Barlow initiated an internal affairs investigation when the department was made aware of Cyr’s post in order to determine whether he had violated its social media policy. “We take this seriously. We will ensure the professional standards of the department are upheld,” he told reporters. Cyr was also put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
According to WHIO News, this wasn’t the first time that social media landed Officer Cyr in hot water. He was warned by his supervisor, Sgt. Rod Myers, about his problematic “social media behavior” in May, following a disparaging post he made about Fairborn. Cyr was told by Sgt. Rod Myers in a letter dated May 29th, “to better familiarize yourself with the aforementioned General Order regarding Social Media and model your social media behavior to be consistent with that order.”
The investigation determined that the fact that he was off-duty (Fairborn Police Department does not allow it’s officers to post on social media while on duty) when he made the offending posts did not shield him from censure. In a press release, the Fairborn police department said that, “This action is in violation of the department’s social media policy and does not conform to the Professional Standards and Core Values established by the organization.”
Cyr’s comment has since been removed from the Ohio Politics Facebook page.