NJ hospital exec suggests school cops would ‘shoot black children first’
WEST ORANGE — An RWJBarnabas Health executive has apologized for an anti-police comment she posted using her personal Facebook account in response to a news story about police officers in the Fair Lawn public schools.
"Who is going to train them not to shoot the black children first?!?!” Michellene Davis, the executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJ Barnabas Health, wrote in response to a NorthJersey.com news story shared by a friend.
Hospital officials said Davis has been suspended pending an investigation.
Davis is a former acting state treasurer, chief policy counsel for then-Gov. Jon Corzine and a former head of the New Jersey Lottery. She was also named to the NJBIZ Health Care Power 50, and to the 2017 Top 100 in Business.
"I want to publicly apologize for an extremely insensitive and offensive comment posted on Facebook. My concern for the safety of schoolchildren and gun violence led me to react to a headline without thinking," she posted on her Facebook page. "Having a late sister and other family in law enforcement I deeply respect the law enforcement community and appreciate their service and admire their sacrifice. To all law enforcement families, the community, and to my employer, RWJBH I offer a sincere apology."
RWJBarnabas spokeswoman Ellen L. Greene in an email distanced the health system from the Facebook post.
"Statements posted by RWJBarnabas Health official social media outlets are the only statements that represent the views and policies of the organization," she wrote, later adding that the David "has been placed on administrative leave."
Before issuing the apology, Davis said that her account had been hacked, according to the Fair Lawn-Glen Rock Daily Voice, which posted a screen shot of her post. "Please accept nothing new from my account," she wrote in the post that is no longer visible on her page. Her message, however, did not blame the police comment on a hacker.
New Jersey State PBA president Patrick Colligan told New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea it was "discouraging" that Davis mentions her affiliation with RWJ because his members often utilize the hospital system's facilities.
"The anti-cop stuff is getting old. When we get painted with the same broad stroke just because we're police officers that's racism in itself. You can't paint every cop," Colligan said, adding that the officers assigned to the Fair Lawn schools are "seasoned officers going to protect the children."
Colligan said he was going to invite Davis on a ride-along with police in a New Jersey community.
"We'll let her put on a vest and let her see our perspective for two or three hours," he said.