‘They hate my uniform, they don’t care if I die’: Female New Jersey cop is fired for calling BLM protesters ‘terrorists’ in Facebook post and her colleague is demoted for ‘liking’ it
- Hopewell Township, New Jersey, patrol officer Sara Erwin was fired, and Sgt Mandy Gray will be suspended and demoted
- Erwin posted status update on Facebook in June 2020, calling BLM protesters ‘terrorists,’ and Gray expressed approval for her post
- Both Erwin and Gray have been on the force for more than 20 years, and their lawyer says neither has ever faced disciplinary actions
- Erwin and Gray’s attorney has filed an appeal, demanding that departmental charges against them be dismissed
Hopewell Township’s committee on Friday voted unanimously to terminate police officer Sara Erwin and penalize Sgt Mandy Gray.
Both women have been decorated public servants for more than 20 years, and neither one has any ‘disciplinary history,’ according to their attorney, Frank Crivelli.
Hopewell Township, New Jersey, patrol officer Sara Erwin (left) has been fired, and Sgt Mandy Gray (right) will be suspended and demoted over an anti-BLM Facebook post
Erwin posted this status update on Facebook in June 2020, saying that Black Lives Matter protesters were ‘terrorists’ who hate her and her uniform, and don’t care if she dies
Gray, who was the first woman to be hired as a police officer in Hopewell Township and the first to be named a a sergeant in 2019, will be placed on leave and demoted in rank, reported NJ.com.
Crivelli filed an appeal with the New Jersey Superior Court on Monday, arguing that the disciplinary actions taken against his clients were ‘unjustified’ and ‘excessively harsh.’
Erwin, who has served as a patrol officer in Hopewell since 2001, on June 8, 2020, wrote a status update on her Facebook page that read in part: ‘Last night as I left for work I had my two kids crying for me not to go to work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the way I did last night. And then I watched people I know and others I care about going into harms way. I love my police family like my own.
‘So when you share posts and things on Facebook I’d really appreciate if you’d THINK before doing so. I’ve seen so many black lives matter [sic] hashtags in these posts. Just to let you know – they are terrorists. They hate me. They hate my uniform. They don’t care if I die.’
Gray was among several people who expressed their approval for Erwin’s message, which was posted during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism, which engulfed the US in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
She reacted with a heart emoji.
Erwin, who had been on the police force since 2001, was charged was a slew of department and township violations. A hearing officer in February recommended that she be fired
The anti-BLM status update led to protests in Hopewell Township, inspired the creation of a petition with hundreds of signatures demanding that the local police force be disband, and prompted Hopewell’s then-Police Chief Lance Maloney to issue a public apology.
‘As we continue to investigate a recent Facebook post, please know that I am sorry for the hurt that this incident has caused our community,’ Maloney said in late June. ‘We understand that we have the obligation to make sure that our officers police in a manner that is fair and impartial.’
Gray, who was the first woman to be hired as a police officer in Hopewell Township and the first to be named a a sergeant in 2019, will be placed on leave and demoted in rank
In July, Erwin was charged with violating multiple department policies, including standards of conduct; violating the township’s social media policy, public employment and ‘the implicit standard of good behavior.’
Erwin was initially placed on administrative leave, along with the other officer police officers and public servants who ‘liked’ her post.
Erwin ultimately pleaded not guilty to all the charges against her and demanded a hearing, which was held in October.
A hearing officer appointed by the township in February recommended that Erwin be terminated, and on April 21 the Township Committee accepted that recommendation, resulting in her firing on Friday.
According to the appeal filed by Erwin’s attorney, she maintains that the charges against her were not proven and she is seeking to have them dismissed.
Erwin also wants the Superior Court to compel the township to pay back her salary and benefits, along with all of her legal fees.