Springfield MA Detective Fired For Violating Department’s Black Lives Don’t Matter Policy
It's very hard for cops to lose their jobs. They have the support of a
protection racket police union that will defend their worst actions, including killing people on camera. Even in the rare instances where cops are charged with killing someone, they get to keep their jobs with back pay if they're cleared. (Don't try this at home if you're in any other profession.)
So, you have to wonder what Florissa Fuentes of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Department did that was so egregious she was canned in a matter of weeks. Turns out Fuentes shared a photo on Instagram of her niece at a Black Lives Matter rally. That's it. That's the “crime."
See, the police get really offended if you assume all cops are bad, but they also don't like it when you criticize any cops. It's like they want two things and both of them are fascist.
Fuentes joined the Springfield Police Department in July 2019 and was promoted to detective this spring. She's 30 so she's presumably good at her job. But maybe she hasn't kicked enough Black ass for her colleagues to fully trust her. She said she shared the post as an Instagram story to show support for her niece and the Black Lives Matter movement in general. She wasn't condoning violence against police officers because, despite what shouty police union leaders say (and they're always shouty), Black Lives Matter is not an “anti-police" movement. The police exist every day and most protest marches occur after a cop has used a Black man's neck as an ottoman. Correlation isn't always causation, but this is pretty straightforward.
Springfield police detective fired over pro-Black Lives Matter post www.youtube.com
There were two people holding signs in her niece's photo: One sign read, "Who do we call when the murderer wear the badge." That's a reasonable concern. You obviously can't call the police because they sometimes just stand there while another officer kills someone. I'd argue that the entire Black Lives Matter movement poses a variation of the question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" or “Who watches the watchmen?"
The other person's sign was more controversial and implied that people should shoot back at the police. But that wasn't Fuentes or her niece's opinion. Nonetheless, she immediately received messages from concerned colleagues warning her of “possible consequences."
From the New York Times:
You have a lot of haters. You're going to get in trouble.
The Springfield Police Department was behaving like a high school clique, the mob, and Scientology. (This is admittedly unfair to the mob.)
She deleted the post and apologized to her coworkers in a private Facebook group.
I did not share the photo with any malicious intent and I should have thought about how others might perceive it.
That wasn't the end of it. She'd crossed the thin blue line.
One co-worker asked Ms. Fuentes to "please stay as far away from me as you can," adding that Ms. Fuentes was "either too dangerous or too stupid to safely associate with." That comment received 17 likes, and Ms. Fuentes deleted the apology.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, a Democrat, was also upset. He compared Fuentes's post with a 2017 incident when a Springfield officer posted "Hahahaha love this. Maybe people shouldn't block roadways" after a fucking white supremacist drove a car into a crowd at a Charlottesville, Virginia, rally, killing Heather Heyer. If Sarno can't morally distinguish between these two very different things, he's not fit to hold office.
On June 19, Fuentes was told she could either resign or be fired. She turned in her badge that day. She is a single mother of three children, two of whom are Black. I've checked and there are no reports of mass walkouts or cases of the “blue flu" in response to her unjust termination. But she didn't push an old man, critically injuring him, or shoot a suspect in the back like a coward. She's on her own.
FUENTES: I feel like no matter what position I took I wasn't going to win.
That is a dilemma every Black cop or even a cop with Black loved ones faces. Let's hope Fuentes is able to find more honorable work elsewhere.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."