PLEASANT HILL, Mo. — A newly hired Pleasant Hill police officer is no longer with the department after the city discovered racist social media posts.
The Pleasant Hill Police Department said it posted photos Monday after two officers were sworn in. Shortly after, someone shared a post from one of the new officer’s social media accounts with racially insensitive content.
“There is no excuse for racism, insinuation of violence, or any form of hate in our community,” the mayor, city administrator and police department said in a joint statement.
The city said its hiring process failed to identify racist and homophobic social media posts before the officer was hired, saying this step was unintentionally overlooked.
“This is totally our fault. We traditionally do a very comprehensive background. This time we failed to do so,” Pleasant Hill Police Chief Tommy Wright told FOX4.
Those posts included negative political memes, homophobic memes and a racist post that alluded to decapitation of Black people.
“We found that very offensive, so that’s the one that we keyed in on,” Wright said.
Pleasant Hill leaders said in their statement that other steps in the background check, such as a public records check, criminal history and court records checks, were still completed.
“As chief of police and as city administrator, this issue highlighted weaknesses within our hiring process and we are committed to improvements,” the city said in its statement.
Pleasant Hill leaders said the officer is no longer employed with the police department. FOX4 later clarified as the city was concluding its investigation, the officer resigned.
FOX4 reached out to former officer by phone, and we have not heard back.
“It is important for us to identify when mistakes are made and own up to them,” the statement said. “And in the times when we have erred, it is important for the community to point out when we need to be held accountable.”
“It is an unfortunate truth that in my 30-plus years as a firefighter, I have seen how one employee can derail the trust and integrity of the best organizations. The police officers, sergeants, and leadership of the Pleasant Hill Police Department work hard every day to provide this community with the safety and protection at the highest level of service,” Mayor John E.P. King said.
“These officers are part of this community, and they want their police department to be the pride of this city. Please do not let one individual detract from the work they have accomplished in the last few years to make the Pleasant Hill Police Department what it is today.”