Let me begin by saying that I like police officers, and appreciate their service; without them, we wouldn’t have functional societies. But as with all lines of work, there are bad apples. I’m not suggesting that Chief McLean is the one responsible for posting, then deleting the comments on the Santa Paula Police Department facebook page, but I am suggesting it looks fishy, and that he may be using a “volunteer” or “administrator” named Michael Gray to cover his ass. But first, let’s take a step back.
Simply, it’s a horrible video, and action had to be taken. Action was taken; scroll through the blue page to catch up if you don’t know what I’m talking about: facebook page.
The cycling community expressed their opinions, and inevitably, Laura Weintraub unpublished the video and locked down her facebook because she was getting absolutely blasted. Kudos to those who contributed, I think we were heard.
Things became interesting when word got out that she was a reserve officer for the Santa Paula Police Department. The video was brought to the attention of Chief McLean on one of his recent posts to the department’s facebook page, which itself didn’t seem entirely appropriate for the setting.
The response, which was opposite of what you’d hope from the people we pay to protect us, was presumably posted, then later deleted by Chief McLean. However, he declares it was Michael Gray, the “volunteer” or “administrator” who for reasons unknown had access to the Santa Paula PD facebook account and was repsonding to concerns under a post clearly authored by McLean. May I ask why?
According to the LA Times,
McLean said critics had taken a post he made weeks earlier about grabbing a cold beer after a hard day and twisted it to appear to be his commentary on the video.
“That’s why a lot of people are bashing me,” he said. “Some idiot out there took a statement that had nothing to do with anything and applied it here.”
McLean also denied accusations that he removed critical posts, saying it was the work of a volunteer or administrator.
Let’s pick that apart for a second. Firstly, not the best choice of words by Chief. The “idiot” he refers to, used the comment section of the “beer” post (which was actually seven days prior, not “weeks earlier” as he suggested) to shed light on a concerning video posted by one of his employees. While a police officer drinking beer is no problem when he’s off-duty, using the department’s facebook page as a platform to advertise “a statement that had nothing to do with anything” doesn’t seem like the greatest idea.
Secondly, nobody applied McLean’s beer post as a response to the video, as it obviously came before the video was published. The police department’s actual statement to the video (which was later deleted) is what was being applied; and it appears that whoever was at the helm of the facebook account, whether McLean or Gray, is a big fan of Back To The Future, but doesn’t understand what screenshots are.
Anyways, McLean logs back in, reformulates his stance, and tells people to call him (“Yeah, let’s just talk about this little hiccup somewhere else..”).
McLean said yesterday he had placed Weintraub and Gray on leave pending an investigation, but there is no investigation to be had, especially on Weintraub. It’s blatantly clear what she did, and it’s clear she should never work in public safety again (unless she is a bike cop). It’s McLean who should be investigated for possibly posting the shoddy, and inappropriate responses on the department’s facebook page. It certainly looks as though he was the one posting, and tried to backpedal to cover up his mistake. I’m no lawyer, but if that’s what actually happened, it’s probably not legal.
I don’t accept any of the apologies, because they are only an attempt to save face. There would be no apology if this incident wasn’t exposed. They were also incredibly weak, and fabricated. If you want to post a public apology, make a video so we can see your face. I also don’t accept McLean’s explanation of the original repsonse to the video, and the deletion of comments. There are just too many things not adding up and I don’t think he should be able to squirm his way out of this by pawning it off on someone who will see no real consequence.
I’m not really sure what we do now, or if anything I wrote makes sense, but here are his bosses, maybe we can start there..
Go have your beer Chief, but you might need something a bit stronger to wash this one away. Cheers.by