Police Chief Mike Halstead in Surf City, North Carolina, was forced to retire after posting a statement to his private Facebook page calling the Black Lives Matter movement "an American born terrorist group." Chief Halstead made the post on September 3, and it came to the attention of Surf City Mayor Zander Guy a few days later. The mayor called an emergency meeting of the town leaders on Tuesday and the town told Halstead that if he did not retire, he would be fired. He retired and took 60 days' severance.
In his post, Halstead said that the issue is not entirely about race — despite the claims of the BlackLivesMatter movement, and prominent black leaders such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan. He insisted instead that it is about a war on police brought about in large part by Black Lives Matter and helped along by media coverage and federal policies and statements by President Obama. He wrote:
Open letter from a Police Chief , this Black Lives Matter group is nothing more than an American born terrorist group brought on by the lie of the hands up don't shoot during the criminal thug Michael Brown incident. The FBI and other Government Law Enforcement groups need to step up and put a stop to this. The Government and blacks would not tolerate the White Supremacist group to march through the streets and call for the murders of a race of people and a group of public servants. I agree there is a race problem in this country. It is not brought on by police officer doing their sworn duty, it is brought on by the government, the President and his cronies Al Sharpton, who is a criminal tax evader (but has the support of our so called President), Jessi Jackson, Eric Holder and that ignorant S.O.B. Farrakhan who should be charged with solicitation for murder, lord knows a white man would be arrested for the same actions of idiot Farakhan. I am sure there are many hard working Black people who will agree with me. I have been a Police Officer for 35 years. I do not judge anyone by the color of their skin, but by there actions. A criminal is a criminal whether a police officer or any other profession. I will not state statistics because black lives matter do not care or believe proven statistics. I put allot of the blame for these cop murders on the media and the way they report police related shootings. There is no need to list or even state the race of a person shot by the police. It is more important to wait for the facts and report those. But and a big but that does not make money for these greedy media a[**] h[***]s. When a black thug is killed by the police they are all over it as is Mr. Barack Obama. However when a police officer white, black or any race is murdered for doing his job the media is short with it's reporting or not at all. When a white person is killed by a black officer you hear nothing. Has our so called President spoke publicly about these murders of police officers by blacks, HELL NO he has not. Step up Mr. President, or step down because we do not need you. Has our Attorney General spoke against these murders, no of course not because she was appointed by Barack Obama. Now let me say this, and this is not a threat but common knowledge. I have instructed my officers to be vigilant, if threatened take appropriate action. If that means shoot a thug, then do it and answer for it while you are still alive not dead. Law Enforcement is fed up with this murderous society who want to take out those who protect and serve. Imagine if all law enforcement shut down for just 1 day. There would be murders, rapes, robberies, you name it. America wake up, all of you black, white, Mexican whatever you need the police, we do not need you. End this Black Lives Matter bull s[**]t and start a movement that all lives matter. As for the New Black Panther movement who wants to kill whites and cops, go for it, we are ready for you. You take one of us and there will be 100 who will step up and end you. This letter is not meant to offend anyone, just the feelings of a man who has spent the last 35 years of his life serving and protecting, for what so a thug can take it or to be treated as a criminal by the very people I swore to protect. Let's get this around folks so maybe our President and the media will get a wake up call. Be safe all of my Brothers and Sisters in blue, not white, black, yellow or brown BLUE.
The town of Surf City claims that Halstead's Facebook post violated the city's social media policy for employees of the police department. That policy says that employees may not "express themselves as private citizens on social media sites" in any way that might "negatively affect the public perception of the department." Set aside the vague ambiguities of "negatively affect[ing] the public perception of the department" — which could mean that an employee is in violation just because someone doesn't like something he posted — because the policy goes on to say:
When using social media, department personnel should be mindful that their speech becomes part of the worldwide electronic domain. Therefore, adherence to the department's code of conduct is required in the personal use of social media. In particular, department personnel are prohibited from the following: Speech containing obscene or sexually explicit language, images, or acts and statements or other forms of speech that ridicule, malign, disparage, or otherwise express bias against any race, any religion, or any protected class of individuals.
While Surf City claims that Halstead violated that policy, the worst he is really guilty of is a few misspellings, some grammatical errors, and expressing an opinion that angered the people who have bought into the errors of the Black Lives Matter movement. He did not "ridicule, malign, disparage, or otherwise express bias against any race, any religion, or any protected class of individuals." Unless, of course, the media, politicians, and race baiters are considered a "protected class of individuals."
Surf City Town Manager Larry Bergman spoke with Chief Halstead before any action was taken. As reported by WECT.com, Bergman pointed out to Halstead "that as public employees we are often held to higher level of scrutiny and that even if it is a personal social media account and despite not associating himself directly to the Town in his posting, that some will draw the connection." WECT also reported that Halstead apologized and removed the post. That was apparently not enough to settle the offense. In the following days, the mayor called an emergency meeting and Halstead was given the choice: Retire or be fired.
Many citizens in the small town of Surf City have shown support for Halstead. There have been protests and rallies — but no rioting or looting. At one rally, Halstead said he has received the same type of moral support from all over the country. He also, cleared up some misinterpretations of his post. WECT quoted him as saying:
I wish to thank all of the residents involved, for this tremendous love and support and I would like to give a big thanks to Law Enforcement [and] Support[ers] for Media [Accountability]. To the thousands and thousands of emails and tweets of support, I am humbled and am very very grateful for the love and support from thousands from all over the world, not just local, and not just here in the United States. I would like to clarify the meaning of "thug," it is not a racial term and it is not defined as a race of people. Police have been using "thug" since the 60s and 70s. A "thug" is a person who steals what you have — have earned, kills, maims, rapes and robs. I do apologize if I offended anyone with the use of the term "thug." I am not a racist person, and I have never been a racist person. Anybody who knows me will tell you that. I am a God-fearing loving man, and I am a Christian. I am willing to sit down with the Town Manager, Councilman Curley and Councilman Fowler to negotiate a proper retirement and retirement ceremony that every other Law Enforcement Officer who retires in this nation is entitled to for my 35 years of service, and 17 years of service with this Town without a blemish on my record. I have done nothing wrong and I have been thrown out the door. I was treated like a dog and I am just tired of it.
Photo: Police Chief Mike Halstead