(WSVN) – A Coral Springs sergeant is apologizing for a Facebook post he made about a celebrity. It’s just one in a series of social media controversies at the police department. 7’s Karen Hensel investigates.
When Alex Trebek — longtime host of “Jeopardy!” — passed away from cancer, the game show brought on celebrity guest hosts.
One of them was journalist Katie Couric.
Katie Couric: “Welcome to ‘Jeopardy!’ everyone.”
And that’s when the category turned local and controversial in this Facebook post, “So, I tuned in tonight to watch Jeopardy when I saw that liberal bitch Katie Couric was the guest host. I decided to watch the fan blades spin while plucking my eyebrows. I made the right choice.”
It was posted by Dave Kirkland, who is the sergeant in charge of internal affairs at the Coral Springs Police Department.
Chief Clyde Parry, Coral Springs Police Department: “I thought it was not polite.”
“Not polite,” but according to Coral Springs Police Chief Clyde Parry, not a violation of department policy.
In an interview with 7News, Parry told us Kirkland’s Facebook page is private, and it does not identify him as a member of the department.
Clyde Parry: “If he would have posted that on our internal email, which would make it a public record, that certainly would have changed my view on it.”
In an email to city leaders, someone complained about Kirkland’s post, calling it “unacceptable and disturbing behavior from a sergeant of internal affairs or any other sworn officer.”
Karen Hensel: “The person who complained said ‘any other officer who did this would be under investigation for violation of the social media policy and conduct unbecoming of an officer.’ Do you think that person is correct?”
Clyde Parry: “I don’t.”
This is not the first time the department has dealt with an officer’s use of social media.
TikTok video: “Scanning for Mexicans… Ahh! We’ve got a Mexican!”
In November, 7News reported another Coral Springs sergeant — Gilbert Monzon — was suspended two weeks for creating TikTok videos mocking Mexican immigrants.
TikTok video: “Donald Trump, send me home…”
Monzon told investigators the videos were done for satirical purposes and to connect with newer members of the force.
TikTok video: “Back to Mexico to see my papa.”
Chief Parry says the two cases are not comparable.
Clyde Parry: “The other case disparaged a whole group of people. In uniform, on duty, filming other department members in uniform, on duty.”
7 Investigates has also learned about a Facebook post shared last August by a now-former officer with the department’s animal control unit.
Clyde Parry: “They posted a picture of George Floyd with the officer’s knee on his neck. Mr. Floyd’s face was painted pink, and the caption underneath it said ‘Pink Floyd.’”
The officer, Warren Darlow, was quickly fired.
In a termination letter from the city, the human resources director said Darlow showed a “lack of remorse” and “admitted to having shared” the post “in a private group for individuals who appreciate dark humor.”
Clyde Parry: “There are some times where you post something that’s so offensive that it just needs to be dealt with swiftly and harshly.”
As for the March post about Katie Couric, while it did not generate an internal affairs investigation, it did result in an apology.
Sgt. Kirkland wrote to the chief, “It was not my intent to be divisive or disrespectful, and I didn’t realize the impact of my actions.”
Clyde Parry: “I think he regrets it, and I think that is a lesson that I would be shocked if he doesn’t pass on to the other folks in our IA section.”
The sergeant’s emailed apology to the police chief came one day after we made a public records request for any complaints about his Facebook post. He also completed an online training course called “Skills for Inclusive Conversations.”
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