GERMANTOWN, WI — Germantown’s police chief apologized for a Facebook post he made that said he would debate anyone on police brutality and implied teachers supported a sign that referenced “All Cops Are Bastards.”
“I understand this country is hurting and law enforcement needs to make efforts to unite, not divide,” Police Chief Mike Snow said. “I also understand my actions were contrary to that intent. I understand that there are those in this community with experiences I will not understand and have difficulty relating to so I must work harder to make those connections.”
That statement comes after Snow on the police department’s Facebook page had earlier called out someone who held a sign during a protest on June 13 that had the “A.C.A.B.” acronym.
The protest, like others across the country, was held in the aftermath of the death George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, and called on racial justice and an end to police brutality.
The protest began at Germantown High School and ended at the police station.
“I can only assume the teachers and other adults marching supported the sentiment or they would not have remained silent on the issue, after all ‘Silence is Violence,’ ” Snow wrote June 16 on the department’s Facebook page.
Snow added he is “all ears” if people want to talk about policies and practices the department isn’t doing. But he said “when you start from a place that A.C.A.B, it is hard to get those discussions started.”
Chief says he should ‘never post angry’
Snow’s response drew mixed reaction from the community on social media. As a result, just a few hours later, Snow made another post saying he broke one of the “cardinal rules” taught to him by his predecessor, Chief Peter Hoell, who retired at the end of 2019.
“Never post angry!” Snow said. “I was called out by many and you were correct, I missed an opportunity. For that I am sorry and I do apologize. One of our followers pointed out I created a divide and it was my job to make it right.”
The student who organized the march said the sign by one person does not represent the group’s message.
“Those who attended know that we had a peaceful demonstration and that our experience was nothing short of unifying and insightful,” the organizer said in a statement. “Through the demonstration, we thanked the police many times.”
The organizer said she nor anyone else at the protest approved, allowed or endorsed the sign.
“Our teachers and parents likely did not know the meaning and the few should not be accountable for the actions of one,” she said.
The organizer said she doesn’t want the protesters to be deterred by Snow’s post.
“As upsetting as it is to be generalized by the Chief of Police in the same way he does not want to be generalized, I request that my fellow protesters rise above the negativity and continue to strive for change,” she said. “Don’t let this experience sway you from our march towards equality. This is not a political discussion, it’s a human rights one. I hope all of us can join together to start.”