Santa Fe Police Union Head Placed On Desk Duty Over Facebook Posts

SANTA FE, NM — The head of the Santa Fe police union has been put on desk duty after new information emerged during an internal investigation into rancorous Facebook posts he shared earlier this year, Police Chief Patrick Gallagher said Wednesday.

Sgt. Troy Baker came under internal investigation in February when the Santa Fe Reporter published Baker’s posts about transgender people, immigrants and Muslims on his personal Facebook page.

One of the posts was a meme with a car running over stick figures with the text, “All Lives Splatter. Nobody cares about your protest. Moral of the story.. stay off the road!!” Baker told the Reporter the post was a joke.

On Tuesday, Baker was placed on restrictive duty — meaning he’ll be at a desk with no public interaction. Gallagher said he had learned of new information from Baker’s internal investigation.

The chief did acknowledge a link between the desk duty for Baker and events in Charlottesville, Va.

On Saturday, a 20-year-old Ohio man who traveled there to attend a “Unite The Right” rally that had erupted in violence killed a woman counterprotester and injured many others when he plowed his car into a crowd.

Gallagher said he inquired about the internal investigation into Baker after the fatality in Virginia.

“As a result of the incident in Charlottesville, and the negative public feedback (about Baker’s posts), I made an inquiry with internal affairs,” Gallagher said in an interview. “Additional information came to light, and that concerned me enough to put him on desk duty.”

“I’d love to share (the new information), but I’m unable to share it,” the chief said.

On Monday, former City Councilor Patti Bushee – who ran against current Mayor Javier Gonzales in the 2014 election – reposted Baker’s “All lives splatter” post and wrote that she was “conflicted” about attending a Monday night anti-racism rally that Gonzales helped organize, in part because Baker was “still employed with our police department after his outrageous post.”

Gallagher said Baker will be on desk duty until the internal investigation and any resulting discipline is complete. Internal investigations typically take several months because public employees, especially officers, are afforded a lot of due process, Gallagher said. “There are a lot of things we have to make sure are done correctly,” Gallagher said. “It takes time to do that.”

Baker could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Some of the other memes he posted included one calling for elimination of the NAACP while showing Confederate flags and another that said, “Let’s discuss what Islam has to offer,” then listed things like rape, beheading and burning people alive.

From The Albuquerque Journal

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