Port Arthur police chief calls social media comments posted by officers “offensive”

PORT ARTHUR – Postings made on social media by three Port Arthur police officers and a civilian employee of the police department are causing community outrage, and even angering Police Chief Mark Blanton.12News learned of the postings from a packet received from an anonymous source, calling himself a concerned citizen.  The citizen attached a letter to copies of the postings, saying the comments are “racially driven and/or with racial overtones”.

The posts were from Sergeant Jeremy Lloyd, Detective Tommy Savoie, Officer Joe Paul, and Brenda Swan, who works in the evidence room.

In his Facebook post, Savoie describes First Lady Michelle Obama as anti-American, and refers to her as the “B” word.

Sergeant Lloyd shared a post calling activist Al Sharpton a race baiter, and another dirty name.

Officer Joe Paul used profanity in a rant that he wrote on social media against the removal of the Confederate flag.

Citizens Michael Howard reacted to the postings by saying, “This here makes me wonder about what direction we’ree going in and what kind of officers we’r hiring today.”

Chief Blanton, who says he’s the grandfather of bi-racial children, expressed similar concern.  He said, “This is unacceptable, it will be rectified, most everybody here knows I won’t tolerate this continuing, it will be addressed.”

Blanton doesn’t think the employees made the controversial postings while at work, and he understands they have a first amendment right to express themselves, but he says police officers and public servants are held to a higher standard.  Blanton said, “Public employees even on their own time, as I understand the law, they’re still subject to discipline if it discredits the police department, its operation, etc.”

Citizen John Green told 12News, “They’re supposed to help protect everybody, so something like this shouldn’t be expected from them, they should be suspended, or something, at least a suspension.”

Chief Blanton plans to implement a social media policy next week, and is investigating the employee’s actions, and has not ruled out disciplinary action.

12News wanted to get the employee’s side, but Chief Blanton says he wants the investigation to be complete before allowing them to speak.