A Florida cop is facing disciplinary action after posting a comment on Facebook concerning Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg and his most recent drummed-up anti-National Rifle Association protest directed at Publix supermarket.
Reacting to the Hogg-led Publix “die-in” protest, veteran Coconut Creek police K-9 officer Brian Valenti reportedly wrote via Facebook, “Hope some old lady loses control of her car in that lot. Jus saying…..”
According to the Sun Sentinel, Valenti was commenting on a story about the protest, which included Hogg and other anti-gun activists drawing 17 body outlines in chalk outside a Publix in Coral Springs over the business’ donations to politicians who support the NRA, a pro-Second Amendment organization that represents over 5 million Americans. The outlines were supposed to represent the 17 killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on February 14, seemingly tying Publix and the NRA to the massacre without any evidence.
Before Valenti removed the post, a screenshot of the comment was captured and sent to his department by a woman named Kim Simonson, who is demanding the officer be punished or fired.
“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,” wrote Simonson.
And Simonson will get what she wants. According to union leader Rod Skirvin, Valenti is facing disciplinary repercussions.
“He feels terrible and is very willing to apologize in person,” said Skirvin. “We are going to speak to the chief on Tuesday when he goes back to work. There will be disciplinary repercussions for him.”
Police Chief Butch Arenal called Valenti’s comment “unprofessional and inappropriate,” says Skirvin.
“The officer admitted that it was in poor taste, and indicated that it was meant as a joke, but certainly didn’t come off that way. It is for that reason that he thought it better to remove the post. He will be offering an apology, as he has indicated that he wants to do whatever he has to do to make it right,” said Arenal.
Simonson, shockingly, says an apology would not be enough.
“The fact that he stated to you that he considers running over children with a car to be a joke, should definitely send off some alarm bells in the heads of the supervisors in your town,” she told the Sun Sentinel. “That isn’t the type of person I would like representing my community all over Facebook and beyond.”
Arenal apologized further to Simonson via email, writing, “I want to personally apologize to you, since you not only had to see it, but you then had to take time out of your day to write to me. I am directly accountable for the actions of all of the employees who work for me, and this unfortunate decision by one of those employees has been disappointing and embarrassing.”
Publix, too, has caved, announcing a stop to all donations to NRA-supporting politicians mere days after the launched boycott by Hogg and company.