Ferguson

 

GLENDALE, Mo. – Matthew Pappert, an officer with the Glendale police department since 2008, was fired on Friday for what his chief called “very concerning and inappropriate” comments made on social media.

 

The comments were made during the civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo. following the shooting of unarmed African American teen Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

 

Pappert took to his personal Facebook page five different times, saying, in part, that protesters should be "put down like rabid dogs" and were “a burden on society and a blight on the community.”

 

Pappert’s rants drew widespread outrage, including from within the LGBT community, where he is well known.

 

"I was disgusted by Pappert's comments and horrified to think that anyone holding those beliefs works in law enforcement,” said writer and activist Pamela Merritt of St. Louis. “But I'm not surprised. Racism exists in America, so of course racism exists in the LGBT community too. I hope this all inspires dialogue, and I also hope people find the courage to take a stand against racism even if the source is family."Pappert31

 

Pappert, who received the 2009 City of Glendale Community Service Award and the 2013 Kirkwood American Legion Post and Kirkwood Optimist Club Public Safety Award also posted via Facebook: “Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them?”

 

Glendale officials suspended Pappert and launched an internal investigation after learning of the posts.

 

“The comments are horrible, and all people of goodwill must condemn them,” said St. Louis based social justice advocate Stephen Houldsworth. “But, in addition, the irony is almost overwhelming. If LGBTQIA protesters in times past had not done exactly what the protesters in Ferguson have been doing for the past two weeks, Pappert would never have been allowed to be an openly gay police officer in the first place. The LGBTQIA community's abysmal collective memory of the radical actions that got us to where we are today is very troubling."

 

According to multiple sources, these were not the first racially charged comments made by Pappert, which has prompted some to take to social media themselves to call out a disturbing pattern of behavior by a community member in a position of authority.

 

“It makes my heart hurt to think that an openly gay man can hold so much hatred,” said Michael Mullen. “I have listened to him for years and tried to talk him off of that cliff. It is time for him to own his racism and bigotry. My only hope is that our community will finally stand up to you. Sadly, my friends have remained silent.”

 

An attorney for Pappert issued a statement saying the officer was sorry for his comments.

 

"Officer Pappert is deeply remorseful about what he posted on social media," his lawyer, William Goldstein, said. "We ask for (the) same spirit of forgiveness and the opportunity for redemption."

 

At least three police officer’s in the region have been suspended for comments that were perceived as offensive regarding the unrest in Ferguson.

 

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