In the wake of a social media firestorm ignited by racist posts allegedly made by two Minden police officers prior to their hire, Minden Chief of Police, Steve Cropper, said he is asking them both to resign.
Brothers Shane and Shawn Griffith came under fire after several in the community received screenshots of Facebook posts depicting racist images and sentiments.
“Shane got his request to resign yesterday,” Cropper said. “I have not talked to him since.”
Shawn has been on vacation throughout the ordeal, Cropper said. “[He is] supposed to get back in town today. He hasn’t received anything. His letter is sitting on my desk.”
Cropper spoke briefly with each officer earlier in the week, but received a text message from Shawn Wednesday.
“I did get a message from him on my phone yesterday, saying that he was going to get an attorney,” Cropper said. “He was not going to resign. So, I am assuming he had heard what I was going to ask him to do.”
Cropper said if Shawn doesn’t resign, he has other options. “He will never go on the street,” he said. “I can’t take that chance putting him out there. So, if he wants to dispatch on graveyard for the next 20 years, that’s his business. I think once I explain to him what his police career is going to be like, I think he’ll go along.”
Since both officers are subject to civil service, Cropper can’t just terminate their employment, but he said there may be other options for termination.
“I’m going to call Mr. Minnifield [City Attorney] to give me my options if they refuse to resign.”
Cropper said he has evidence of more recent potential infractions, revealing, “There were some posts made. They weren’t nearly as bad as six years ago, but you could construe them as being racial. There have been a couple posts made since [Shane] has been an employee here.”
Cropper said he cannot personally terminate either officer, but he believes the City Council can step in on his behalf.
“I think with that, showing the patterns, I feel confident that if I have to terminate him, I can [through the City Council],” Cropper said.
Cropper said moving forward will take time and effort, as the citizens’ confidence in the Minden Police Department has been damaged.
“I’d like to apologize to the City of Minden for all of this,” Cropper said. “I don’t know to put it into words. I feel horrible about it. I’m sick to my stomach. I’ve spent 30 years trying to show people that I believe in being fair and treating everybody the same, no matter what color their skin is. In three days, that was yanked away from me. That just really cut me pretty deep. We are going to fight to try to get it back. It’s all we can do.”