Anti-BLM post gets Hopewell cop fired, another demoted for ‘liking’ it
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP (Mercer) — A township police officer was fired and another demoted over a Facebook comment in 2020 calling Black Lives Matter supporters “terrorists," according to their lawyer.
Officer Sara Erwin wrote the post in June 2020 and was fired on Friday night by the Township Committee while Sgt. Mandy Gray, who commented on the post, was suspended, attorney Frank Crivelli told New Jersey 101.5.
Crivelli said the post went up just after a violent protest in Trenton on May 31 against the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis during his arrest by police.
According to NJ.com, the post by Erwin read:
“Last night as I left for work I had my two kids crying for me not to go to work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the way I did last night. And then I watched people I know and others I care about going into harms way. I love my police family like my own. So when you share posts and things on Facebook I’d really appreciate if you’d THINK before doing so. I’ve seen so many black lives matter [sic] hashtags in these posts. Just to let you know - they are terrorists. They hate me. They hate my uniform. They don’t care if I die.”
Crivelli said that after Gray commented, the township received an anonymous letter demanding an internal affairs investigation. The hearing officer recommended that Erwin be fired and Gray suspended for six months with a demotion, which the Township Committee followed through at a special meeting Friday night during an executive session, Crivelli said.
Crivelli said the acting police chief at the time testified that when the department needed to send an officer to represent them at a community event, he would choose Erwin or Gray. Neither officer had any complaints against them during their 20 years each of service.
Crivelli has filed an appeal Superior Court.
NJ PBA President Patrick Colligan said the officers deserve an impartial hearing.
"Maybe it wasn't the right timing but to get terminated and a two-month suspension for 'liking' it is ridiculous. I'm pretty confident it will be overturned," NJ PBA President Patrick Colligan told New Jersey 101.5. "To terminate a great career because of a lapse in judgement, I think is a disgrace."