A St. Louis police sergeant says she’s unafraid of being criticized as a snitch after supporting the contention that her ranks are riddled with white nationalists.
Sgt. Heather Taylor told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday that several of her officers are among the hundreds of law enforcement officials across the nation recently exposed for their racist social media posts. In fact, 22 St. Louis Metro Police Department officers are currently suspended because of it.
St. Louis Police Sgt. Heather Taylor pointed to several racist Facebook posts by city officers when asked if she believes there are white supremacists among her ranks. (CBS This Morning / video screenshot)
“Have you seen some of the Facebook posts of some of our suspended officers right now?” Taylor replied when asked if she believed there were white supremacists working for the agency. “Yes.”
Taylor, an almost 19-year veteran of the force, pointed to a recent report by the Plain View Project and nonprofit newsroom Injustice Watch, which flagged posts from hundreds of officers that included derogatory remarks about racial minorities, memes celebrating police brutality and even questions over whether celebrating Black History Month is “racist.”
One post from a St. Louis officer compared the Black Lives Matter movement, which protests racial and social injustice, to the Ku Klux Klan.
In June, the Philadelphia Police Department reassigned a whopping 72 officers after their racist social media posts were also exposed. In the wake of the damning report, police agencies have pulled dozens of officers off the street and assigned them to desk duty in what’s been called the largest removal of officers from active duty in recent memory, according to NPR.
The findings have prompted police departments across the nation to adopt implicit bias training. SLMPD said bias training has been mandatory for all of its officers since 2014 — shortly after the fatal shooting of Black teenager Michael Brown by an officer from the nearby suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
Taylor said the training is optional, however, and that it’s “pretty obvious” it isn’t doing much to help.
The seasoned officer argued that the department could do a much better job of screening applicants, and also do more to encourage officers to break the “blue wall of silence” and speak up about misconduct by fellow officers.
Taylor also said she’s unfazed by the criticism she could receive from colleagues for confirming that her department has a racism problem.
“I don’t think that all of our department is bad,” she told CBS This Morning. “But … instead of complaining about me, how about you do something to change the culture that you know exists?”