UPPER DARBY, PA — Upper Darby police generally have a very good relationship with the communities they serve.
So this is something that has shocked township officials and they vow to conduct a thorough investigation quickly.
Late last month, a video of a black man being arrested in Georgia went viral. Such videos of high public interest in this era of severely strained relations between some police departments across the country and the communities they serve are shared over and over again on social media.
Someone using the name Randall Raines commented on the video saying, in part, “Animals. How much to send them back to Africa?”
Township officials said, following a tip from a private citizen, an investigation revealed Upper Darby Police Officer Jonathan Resinski was the man who made the post.
Jeff Sutton of Waterford, MI said, “I just noticed his Facebook profile pic was of a motorcycle racer, like a semi-pro,” said Sutton. “I just started looking and googled about who he was, maybe he was a semi pro guy and maybe his sponsors would want to know what kind of guy they’re sponsoring.”
Sutton says he clicked Randall Raines’ Facebook profile and saw he was married. After clicking the wife’s profile, that’s when Sutton discovered a picture showing the man in question cleaning an Upper Darby Police motorcycle.
“I was like, ‘Well wait a minute, this guy is a cop? or could be a cop and he’s saying this stuff on Facebook?'” said Sutton. “With everything going on right now, that to me just kind of made me mad.”
Sutton took screenshots and tagged Upper Darby Police on Twitter, asking if the officer still served on the force.
A group of people protested in front of Aronomink Elementary School Friday, calling for the officer to be fired and pushed for police reform.
Upper Darby Mayor Barbarann Keffer was stunned.
“It’s outrageous that we’re dealing with this right now,” said Keffer.
The mayor said Officer Resinski is on administrative leave.
“We’re still doing an investigation,” Keffer said.
During a disciplinary hearing, officials said Resinski admitted making the post. He said he did so out of frustration and anxiety.
Action News was unable to reach Resinski or his attorney for comment.
“We take this very seriously and we have a zero-tolerance policy, especially with people who have government-issued weapons,” said Keffer.
Chief Administrative Officer Vincent Rongione said he first learned of the matter ten days ago from Police Superintendent Tim Bernhardt.
“At the time, I was told that this was racial in nature and incendiary,” said Rongione.
The incident comes at a time when the mayor was initiating a review of policing policies for the department.
“We have to really examine conduct unbecoming of an officer. All the policies need to be looked at, we’re looking to revamp things here,” said Keffer.
“The last thing we want is one incident, one officer, to sort of taint the relationship our department has built with the community, especially now,” said Rongione.
Superintendent Bernhardt said to Action News this is not who they are. He said the police department worked too hard to build trust, and to be trusted by those they serve.
Upper Darby officials expect to conclude the investigation very soon.