Two Little Rock police recruits fired after controversy over Facebook post | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Two Little Rock police recruits fired after controversy over Facebook post

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 6:58 AM

The D-G reports that two Little Rock police recruits were fired last week after a controversy over a past Facebook post that used a racial slur.

The firings come after an Internal Affairs investigation that was opened in November. On November 17, the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association sent a complaint asking that that Brandon Schiefelbein, who is white, be fired after BPOA turned up a 2013 Facebook post which showed a photograph of a sleeping black man and the words, "Go night night nigga. Go night night." The complaint was made public after blogger Russ Racop, a candidate for City Board, got a copy of the BPOA letter. (Schiefelbein's attorney, Robert Newcomb, said that he was quoting a line from the comedian Kevin Hart.)

Also fired last week was another recruit, Brandon Gurley, who is black. Gurley had raised concerns about Schiefelbein's old Facebook post (and eventually accepted his apology when Schiefelbein took the post down). When the department received the complaint about Schiefelbein, Newcomb then wrote a letter to the police chief stating that Gurley "appears to use the same terminology in Facebook postings of his" — referring to 2010 Facebook posts in which Gurley used the same word in comments. "If it is conduct unbecoming for one, it would be conduct unbecoming for the other," Newcomb wrote in his letter, suggesting that the department should either keep both recruits on the job or fire both.

Max posted details on the back and forth between Schiefelbein and Gurley earlier this month and offered commentary on the broader issues of race in the Department.

Newcomb provided a copy of the termination letter sent to Schiefelbein from Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner to the D-G, which states that his firing "comes as a result of comments you made on social media that have caused complaints both from within the Department and from citizens in the community. ... Some officers with whom you would be required to work on a daily basis and who must trust you in tense situations are extremely offended as well as some citizens. Your comments have significantly damaged this trust and contributed to an already tense relationship between the Department and the community."

The department declined to comment on why Gurley was fired.

Via KATV's Sarafina Brooks, here is a statement on Schiefelbein's termination from Newcomb:

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