A Florida police officer was fired over his Facebook comment in which he appeared to say that it was "unfortunate" that more black people didn't die of coronavirus. Officer Steven Aucoin made these comments underneath a local news station's live feed of the governor's coronavirus news conference. The incident took place on May 15, and Aucoin was fired the same day.
The comments were made on the Facebook page of KLFY, a local affiliate of CBS News. When a user commented that the "virus that was created to kill all the BLACKS is death". To this, Aucoin replied, "Well it didn't work". "How unfortunate", he commented again.
Kaplan Police Chief Joshua Hardy told KLFY that as cops they are held to a higher standard than normal civilians. Hence, one should be careful in what one does and says. One can't just go and post anything they want on social media, Hardy said.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Kaplan Police Department informed the residents about the ouster of Aucoin. The department has apologized for the incident. There are over 300 comments on the department's statement, with several users applauding its swift action.
Support for Steven Aucoin
Although many welcomed Aucoin's ouster, several offered support to the officer. A Louisiana firefighter told KLFY that although he understands Aucoin's termination for violating social media policies, he believes that his comments were a misunderstanding due to Facebook's new feature. Its newest feature doesn't put the comments in consecutive order. The relevant newer comments might be above, while some comments might not be listed at all, he said.
Another Kaplan resident called Aucoin's termination a mistake. She recounted the time he reported at her home. She called him a good officer, "the only one that follows the rule book". He doesn't yell or curse like other officers. He's not racist or rude "or whatever else people are calling him" and that he is just a man trying to provide for his family.
Aucoin's previous stint in the department lasted eight months. He was back in the force for three months, before he was fired, NBC News reported.