The NAACP San Diego branch is calling for an FBI investigation after a San Diego police officer purportedly took to an online forum to urge fellow officers to take a stand against COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates.
Screenshots of the post show it was written on an online forum for members of the San Diego Police Officers Assn.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria has said the city intends to make vaccines mandatory for employees when the Food and Drug Administration gives one or more vaccines its full approval. The FDA has granted only emergency-use approval of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Police Department requires employees who are not vaccinated to wear masks on the job.
“Myself and another God-fearing Patriot on this Department are building up a coalition of cops who will stand up for our God-given freedoms and are willing to risk it all,” the post states. “From this point forward we will never take the vaccine, be tested or wear another face diaper around our heads without our free will to make that choice.”
The post called the vaccine, testing and masks harmful.
“This is the hill to die on, because I promise you if ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ lose this fight there won’t be another hill to fight on,” the post continues.
“What’s at risk? Your jobs! You have to be willing to get fired from this job to secure your rights and stand by your convictions,” the post states. “Our coalition is growing by the day and if the Department and City are willing to fire 100-500 cops then so be it.
“For those who have taken the vaccine, been tested or choose to wear the mask, I support you 100% as you used your free will to make those decisions. Now I ask you to stand with your [colleagues’] free will as well.”
The author, who identified himself as a 16-year veteran of the force, with a family and single income, asked officers to contact him so he could get a sense of how many officers were willing to join him.
The post ends with the acronym “WWG1WGA,” presumably for the motto “where we go one, we go all” — a phrase often associated with QAnon conspiracy theories, including that former President Trump was fighting against a cabal of satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles who operate a global child sex trafficking ring.
The Police Department said the post was written by “an SDPD member.” The department issued a statement, saying the agency “employs approximately 1,950 sworn members and always encourages safe workplace practices.”
The statement said the department was looking into the post as a personnel matter to determine if the author violated internal policies.
“SDPD holds its members to the highest standards. Any department member found to be in violation of SDPD’s policies or procedures will be held accountable,” the statement read. “SDPD strongly encourages all of its members to get vaccinated and continues to make COVID-19 vaccine readily available.”
The police union, which reportedly suspended the forum, declined to comment.
The screenshots of the post were shared on Facebook by activist Tasha Williamson, who said the public should be alarmed by the post. She said it showed a lack of care for the safety of the public, insubordination and attempts to recruit other officers with rhetoric that “created the environment for an insurrection like none other” on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, NAACP San Diego said it condemns “all types of rhetoric from public officials that might inspire insurrections or threatens public safety.”
“We sincerely hope that there are not actually 100-500 officers who feel this way, but even one is too many,” the statement read.
The NAACP called on the Police Department to investigate to what extent “ideas like these have penetrated our police force” and demanded immediate plans to “control and limit the spread.” The organization also contacted the FBI to request an investigation, President Francine Maxwell said in an email.
It was unclear if the matter falls under the purview of the FBI. The FBI’s San Diego office said the federal agency does not confirm or deny any investigations as per its policy.
The NAACP’s statement noted that in light of the U.S. Capitol attack, in which active and retired law enforcement and military personnel participated, the NAACP requested San Diego police records discussing any actions or plans to identify and root out extremism and white supremacist views in the Police Department.
In response, the department said it was withholding responsive records under a state law exemption.
Hernandez writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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