A police officer in Florida will face unspecified “disciplinary repercussions” after writing a violent Facebook post about a Parkland student.
Targeting young activist David Hogg, K-9 Officer Brian Valenti posted on Facebook, “Hope some old lady loses control of her car in that lot. Jus (sic) saying.” The since-deleted post came after Hogg participated in an anti-NRA “die-in” protest in the parking lot of a Publix parking lot.
Valenti’s comments are disturbing because cops are often let off the hook for their sometimes violent misbehavior. For instance, the officers in Milwaukee who violently arrested Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown over a parking space will simply face suspension. And in Georgia, an officer said he believed he was justified in his violent takedown of a 65-year-old Black grandmother during a traffic stop.
But in Valenti’s case, Police Chief Butch Arenal simply called his officer’s comments “unprofessional and inappropriate” and a misunderstood joke, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The incident took place over the weekend, and Arenal said that it will be formally addressed Tuesday, when the office reopens.
The post was brought to Arenal’s attention by a woman named Kim Simonson, who took a screenshot of the post before it was deleted.
“Whether someone agrees with these students or not, it is in very poor taste for a police officer to make the following comment regarding students that have just been through a tragic shooting,” Simonson wrote, according to the Sun-Sentinel, in an email to Arenal and Coconut Creek commissioners.
“The fact that he stated to you that he considers running over children with a car to be a joke, should definitely send off some alarm bells in the heads of the supervisors in your town,” she added in a follow-up email. “That isn’t the type of person I would like representing my community all over Facebook and beyond.”
Valenti has been on the force for 23 years.
Other Republicans also capitalize on the opportunity for a conspiracy theory.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, the post originally appeared on a Coral Springs/Parkland Facebook page. Users wrote mixed comments on an article about the incident that was posted on a page called Coral Springs / Parkland Breaking News. Some people left comments just as vile as Valenti’s.
I support Brian Valenti’s right to free speech, but not to be an officer. Just another example of cops being uneducated bullies.
Camera Hogg is just a troublemaker for the liberal drive by media
Where is the sign up sheet for those volunteering to drive the car
Coconut Creek police office Brian Valenti should know better and should be fired from the police department. If you don’t like someone, say nothing, but to wish bad on this young man, how can you be trusted to protect the citizens of Coconut Creek Disgraceful!
For Hogg’s part, despite the cruel responses, his campaign was a success. The protest targeted Publix because the grocery store chain had donated money to the political campaign of Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who proudly touts himself as an “NRA sellout.”
“He’s anti-LGBTQ rights. It’s 2018, for god’s sake,” Hogg said of Putnam on Twitter. “And he supports the NRA and has an A rating. Publix gave him half a million dollars. What I’m calling on Publix to do is to pull that out of his campaign, double it, and give that money to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund. We have a lot of people with medical bills to pay for years to come.”
“She only apologized after we went after her advertisers,” said Hogg. “It kind of speaks for itself.”