EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — Leaders of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers Association say they were blindsided by Facebook’s decision to take down their page this week.
The heads of the group feel their political statements on the page weren’t enough to warrant a suspension.
“This was just, it’s a big shock,” El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers Association president Pete Faraone said.
On Valentine’s Day, sheriff’s officers association president Pete Faraone tried to log on to the group’s Facebook account, looking to post a message to their more than 7300 followers.
But when he pulled up the page, Faraone got an unwelcome surprise instead.
“On February 14th, Facebook took down our page with no advance notice, they didn’t provide us with any reason or explanation,” Faraone said.
Click on the group’s Facebook page now, and all you’ll get is an error message, saying the page may have been removed.
Faraone said while they may have lost their site, they still don’t know why.
“There was no opportunity to fix whatever they saw as harmful,” Faraone said. “And that’s where we are now.”
Leaders of the sheriffs officer’s association said they didn’t understand Facebook’s decision to remove their page, as it was mostly used to celebrate officer’s achievements and highlight how the group has given back to El Pasoans.
“Our last three posts were actually a retirement luncheon for some of our guys to thank them for their service, I presented an officer with the deputy of the year award, and the other one was a Make-A-Wish, where we did a drive-by parade for a sweet little boy that’s on the Make-A-Wish program,” Faraone said.
Group leaders said the only content on the page that could be considered controversial were posts they made in response to local political leaders calling to defund police.
“If there’s community leaders out there and have what we feel are going to be strong anti-law enforcement opinions, then we’re going to speak out against it,” Faraone said. “We also use our page to thank elected officials that support us.”
The EPCSOA has filed an appeal with Facebook, which told them they could get their page back if a reviewer finds the company made a mistake.
But for now, all they can do is wait.
“I’m very hopeful we do get our page back, and we’re able to keep showing the community what we’re out there doing, and recognizing our members for the hard work they’re out there doing,” Faraone said.