SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department confirmed Tuesday it is conducting an internal investigation into a social media posting in which an officer urged his colleagues to refuse any orders to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to wear protective masks.
The city’s law enforcement agency “is reviewing this as a personnel matter to determine if the officer violated department policy,” according to a statement issued by SDPD public affairs Lt. Adam Sharki.
“SDPD holds its members to the highest standards,” the statement reads. “Any department member found to be in violation of SDPD’s policies or procedures will be held accountable. SDPD strongly encourages all of its members to get vaccinated and continues to make COVID-19 vaccine readily available.”
Sharki did not specify how the posting might potentially breach any departmental rules pertaining to personnel conduct.
The statements by the officer, whose name has not been released by the SDPD, were posted recently in an online forum for members of the San Diego Police Officers Association, a screenshot released by the NAACP’s San Diego office shows.
“Myself and another God fearing Patriot on this Department are building up a coalition of Cops who will stand up for our God given freedoms and are willing to risk it all,” the officer’s posting reads. “From this point forward we will never take the vaccine, be tested or wear another face diaper around our heads without our free will to make that choice.”
The author of the statements called the issue “the hill to die on, because I promise you if `WE THE PEOPLE’ lose this fight there won’t be another hill to fight on.”
The lawman, who identified himself as a 16-year member of the SDPD, added that like-minded members of the department “have to be willing to get fired from this job to secure your rights and stand by your convictions.”
“Our coalition is growing by the day and if the Department and City are willing to fire 100-500 cops then so be it,” the post continues. “For those who have taken the vaccine, been tested or choose to wear the mask, I support you 100% as you used your free will to make those decisions. Now I ask you to stand with your colleagues (and support their) free will as well.”
In frequently cryptic wording interspersed with biblical references, the posting makes reference to an unnamed “sinister agenda at hand that is plaguing the country and the world.”
“Some of you are wide awake and understand what I am getting at, some are just now or have been waking up this past year, and sadly some of you are still sound asleep,” it states. “I am not going to get into the real science that shows that the vaccines are harmful and even deadly, the testing process is inaccurate and harmful, and the masks are harmful to health (and) psyche, and are demoralizing.”
The commentary also criticizes California as “the worst state in the country” and asserts that “the USA has never truly been invaded on a larger scale because of our Second Amendment rights.”
“Therefore we have been infiltrated, and sadly this was long ago, and now we are seeing it play out before our eyes,” the officer stated, without explanation.
The post ends with an acronym, WWG1WGA, which stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All.” The slogan often is used in communications by adherents of the QAnon group.
“You can not be a protector of the law and a violator of the law,” said community activist Tasha Williamson, who made the post public once she said it was brought to her attention.
“I am not in the least shocked, but I’m appalled that he would be so open,” she told News 8.
Earlier this year, the San Diego branch of the NAACP – in the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack – called on the San Diego Police Department to turn over any documents identifying extremism or white supremacy within its ranks.
“Seeing this post validates all of that, and it’s a shame that it has taken six months to have any response,” said Prince Sefa-Boakye, Legal Redress Committee Chair of the NAACP San Diego Branch.
In a letter to Mayor Todd Gloria, NAACP San Diego President Francine Maxwell said she and her membership were “gravely concerned” about the officer’s statements.
“This post mentions second amendment rights [and] alleges there would be support of hundreds of officers in resisting the lawful government of our city and state,” Maxwell wrote. “In the strongest possible terms, the NAACP San Diego branch condemns all types of rhetoric from public officials that might inspire insurrections or threatens public safety.
“The NAACP San Diego branch demands an immediate investigation by [the mayor’s] office into the extent to which ideas like these have penetrated our police force, and we demand immediate plans to control and limit the spread. We will be calling on the FBI San Diego field office to open its own investigation into the matter.”
News 8 reached out to the mayor’s office for comment. Mayor Todd Gloria provided this response:
“The comments from this post are deeply concerning and I have asked the Police Chief to review this matter and report back to me. These views are not reflective of the City of San Diego or the San Diego Police Department as we know a majority of our public safety personnel have already been vaccinated.”
News 8 also asked the FBI whether an investigation is planned or underway. A spokesperson responded: “The FBI’s policy is to neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of any investigation.”
The San Diego Police Officers’ Association told News 8 that they “are not going to comment on that issue at this time.”