The New Orleans Police Department has launched an investigation of an officer and suspended him without pay for comments he posted online in response to a WWLTV.com story.
Jason Giroir is the subject of a new probe by the Public Integrity Bureau after a person who identifies himself as an NOPD employee by that name made online comments about the killing of Trayvon Martin.
"A little over two hours ago I learned about internet comments attributed to Officer Jason Giroir, including in those comments was that he was a member of the NOPD, which have caused me great concern concerning his fitness for duty," said Superintendent Ronal Serpas.
Giroir was suspended indefinitely and without pay, according to Superintendent Ronal Serpas, who added that he asked Chief Arlinda Westbrook of the Public Integrity Bureau to conduct an internal investigation.
Serpas said he was "furious" about the allegations and he said that Giroir has embarrassed the police department. He called the comments "hurtful" and "insensitive."
"To say that I'm angry is an understatement," said Serpas. "Let me be clear: the hardworking men and women of the NOPD do not condone such statements."
Giroir was already assigned to desk duty for a previous investigation of the traffic stop that led to a fatal shootout which left Justin Sipp dead and two officers wounded on Mar. 1 in Mid-City. Giroir pulled over brothers Justin and Earl Sipp for a traffic violation on March 1, and a shootout erupted after two officers were called to the scene to back up Giroir.
The WWLTV.com story about local reaction to the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida at the hands of a neighborhood watchman sparked several incendiary comments – including remarks from a Facebook commenter who is named Jason Giroir.
“Act like a Thug Die like one!” says the comment under name Jason Giroir. The comment refers to the controversy surrounding the hooded sweatshirt Martin was reportedly wearing when he was gunned down. Activists across the nation have taken to wearing hoodies as a sign of solidarity with Martin’s family and against racial profiling.
Jason Giroir’s Facebook profile says that he is from Chalmette, went to Chalmette High School and lives in Covington.
Jason Giroir’s “thug” comment sparked a strong reaction from another commenter, Eddie Johnson, in the story. Johnson tells Giroir: “How the hell you know how he acted? That boy went to school, talked to his girl friend and it was raining so he had his hood over his head... OH YEA He's Black so he's automatically a Thug huh? Low down racist always show their true colors.”
Several hours later, Jason Giroir responded to Johnson: “Eddie come on down to our town with a ‘Hoodie’ and you can join Martin in HELL and talk about your racist stories!:-P”
The NOPD has a policy on Internet posts, adopted several years ago, which states:
“Employees shall not post any material on the Internet -- including but not limited to photos, videos, word documents etc. -- that violates any local, state or federal law and/or embarrasses , humiliates, discredits, or harms the operation and reputation of the police department or any of its members.”