According to NBC News, the Secret Service has launched an investigation into – of all places Peoria, Arizona to be precise, Police SGT Pat Shearer, a highly decorated officer, uploaded a picture on his Facebook page showing seven young men holding up a shirt with President Barack Obama’s face on it riddled with bullet holes.
The photo was uploaded to Facebook on 20 Jan 12 complete with the caption, “Another trip to the ranch,” and was quickly removed, after the Secret Service showed up and started asking about it.
“We’re aware of it, and we’re conducting the appropriate follow-up steps,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told The New York Times.
The Peoria Police Department has also mounted its own internal probe into the photo.
“We have a social media policy that addresses employee conduct with respect of the use of social media,” Jay Davies, a spokesman for the department, told Arizona CBS affiliate KPHO.
He reportedly said Shearer would remain on duty while the investigation is carried out to determine whether his actions violate the department’s social media policy.
Shearer – not surprisingly – is saying the imagery of the picture is being taken out of context.
“I don’t think that the shooting of that t-shirt is that big of a deal. … I think it was more of a political statement,” Shearer told Arizona’s ABC15. “Obviously, it’s not like they were going to go out and shoot the president, no.”
Exactly what kind of “political statement” does SGT Shearer think he’s making? He has a group of what appears to be white teens, holding automatic weapons and pistols, with a t-shirt bearing the first Black President’s image shot full of bullets holes; just some good old white boys out shooting? The only possible “political statement” to be construed here is that you want the President assassinated; because, I’m sorry, but this isn’t something anyone – especially a police officer – jokes about.
On top of that, considering this is Arizona – the same state where they just lost one of their members of Congress (Gabbi Giffords) due to injuries sustained in an assassination attempt which left six dad and more than a dozen wounded – this is a very BIG deal. There’s a huge question here about Shearer’s judgment, and that should be a concern for the community he serves; but wait, what am I thinking? This is the home state of Sherriff Joe, and the OK Corral.
The Secret Service should investigate, and Shearer should resign or be fired. This is a big deal; it isn’t harmless fun. I think it’s safe to guess which political party Shearer and his teen minions are members of, Tea anyone?