A Florida police officer could face disciplinary action after he said on Facebook that he hoped “some old lady loses control of her car” at a protest against gun violence last Friday. The comment was posted beneath a photo of protest organizer and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg.
After stiff criticism from Facebook readers, K-9 officer Brian Valenti of the Coconut Creek Police Department deleted the remark. He said it was intended as a joke, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
One reader took a screenshot of the remark and emailed it to Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert Arenal on Saturday, the newspaper reported.
“Whether someone agrees with these students or not, it is in very poor taste for a police officer to make the following comment regarding students that have just been through a tragic shooting,” she wrote.
Arenal responded that the officer’s comment was “unprofessional and inappropriate” and that Valenti “will be offering an apology,” the Sun-Sentinel reported. The chief said that any other action to be taken concerning the post would be determined this week.
Valenti posted his remark while young activists, including Parkland shooting survivors, were holding a “die-in” at a Publix supermarket in Coral Springs on Friday. The teens were targeting Publix because the grocery chain had donated $670,000 to Florida gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, a Republican who has called himself a “proud NRA sellout.”
The protest began with 17 chalk outlines of bodies in the parking lot to remember the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.
Some people supported and others attacked the demonstration on a Facebook page. Valenti wrote: “I hope some old lady loses control of her car in that lot. Jus sayin ...”
Minutes before the protest began, Publix announced that it was suspending corporate-funded political contributions. Hogg hailed that decision and declared on Twitter: “The young people will win.”
On Monday, he asked, “So when are we doing a die-in at Trump Hotel?”