As protests around the globe against police brutality have intensified and calls for police reform and abolition have swelled, one Florida police organisation said it would re-hire officers accused of misconduct during George Floyd demonstrations.
According to a screengrab from CNN, the now-deleted facebook post from 6 June read:
"Hey Buffalo 57... and Atlanta 6... we are hiring in Florida. Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back! #lawandorderFlorida."
After two days of enduring widespread public outrage and attacks on social media, the president of the Brevard County chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police apologised Monday for his post inviting officers linked to violent incidents in Buffalo, NY and Atlanta, GA, to come to Florida.
In the "Buffalo 57" incident, two officers pushed a 75-year-old man to the ground, resulting in a head injury. The officers were suspended, after which 57 of their colleagues quit the unit.
The other incident, in Atlanta, involved tasing two black college students who were trying to leave a protest in their car. Six police officers face charges after law enforcement was filmed using "excessive force."
"This weekend, I made a posting on social media which was in poor taste and did not reflect the sentiment that I was trying to convey, nor that of the FOP," Bert Gamin, president of FOP lodge #37, wrote, adding: "For that, I humbly apologise to all of you," he told Florida Today.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest organisation of sworn law enforcement officers in the US, representing some 300,000 members. Critics say the nonprofit is a huge obstacle to policing reform through their deep ties to police unions.
In another now-deleted Facebook post made on Sunday, the organisation made the same offer to the Minneapolis police, according to CNN, whose city councillors have committed to disbanding the police force after George Floyd died at the hands of law enforcement in the city.
"Minneapolis officers... we will not disband our agencies or give in... we are hiring in Florida," the post, which also received intense backlash, said.