Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A demonstrator addresses the riot police that are blocking the entrance to I-195 during a protest in Miami on June 5, 2020. (Photo: Adam DelGiudice/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

'This Is the Problem' Say Critics as Police Union Recruits Fired Officers to New Jobs in Florida

"Systemic racism in action."

Julia Conley

A Florida police organization's promise to hire any officers around the U.S. who are fired or who leave their jobs during the nationwide uprising over police brutality was decried by critics Tuesday as indicative of a toxic law enforcement community that rewards severe misconduct.

The Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted two messages on Facebook Saturday urging officers in Buffalo, New York; Atlanta; and Minneapolis to consider finding new jobs in Florida where the union claimed they won't have to face so-called "spineless leadership."

The messages were apparent references to incidents in the three cities during the recent protests over George Floyd's killing and racial injustice. 

In Buffalo, 57 officers resigned in protest after two of their colleagues were suspended for forcefully pushing a 75-year-old man at a demonstration and then walking past him as his head began bleeding on the sidewalk. 

The officers said their mass resignation was due to concerns that their union wouldn't "legally back" officers in such cases. They claimed they didn't resign in support of the two officers, who were charged with felony assault, but many Buffalo officers showed up at a courthouse on Saturday to support the men when they were arraigned.

The Brevard County FOP also urged members of the so-called "Atlanta Six"—six officers who were arrested including five who were charged with felonies after dragging a black couple from their car during a protest last week.

"We got your back!" the union wrote to the Buffalo and Atlanta police officers.

"Just what we all need," tweeted TV producer Lou DiBella in response. "Systemic racism in action."

Numerous recent studies have shown how police officers who are held accountable for misconduct—including injuring or killing civilians—are often rehired by their own departments or by departments in other cities and towns soon after.

The Washington Post revealed in 2017 that 450 out of nearly 1,900 officers fired by the nation's largest departments since 2006 were reinstated following legal appeals required by police unions. 

A report in the Yale Law Journal in April found that an average of 1,100 officers working in Florida each year have been previously fired. Officers who lose their jobs tend to move on to communities of color at agencies with fewer resources. 

The Brevard County FOP also appealed to officers in Minneapolis, where a veto-proof majority on the city council voted over the weekend to replace the police department with "a holistic model of public safety." The vote came less than two weeks after Floyd's killing.

"We will not disband our law enforcement agencies or give in," the Brevard County FOP wrote. 

The Brevard County sheriff's department said the posts did not reflect the views of county law enforcement officials and that the FOP is not in a position to recruit officers. 

But critics on social media said the posts reflected a police culture in which officers—and current methods of policing—are protected at all costs. 

"This is the problem," tweeted ESPN reporter Sarah Spain.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'This Is Insane': Search Warrant Indicates FBI Investigating Trump for Espionage Act Violation

"If you're not fed up," said watchdog group Public Citizen, "you're not paying enough attention."

Jessica Corbett ·

Anti-War Veterans Group Asks Biden to 'Read Our Nuclear Posture Review Before Releasing Yours'

"Are you willing to risk a civilization-ending apocalypse by playing nuclear chicken with other nuclear-armed nations? Or will you lead us toward a planet that is free of nuclear weapons?"

Jessica Corbett ·

'Five-Alarm Crisis': US Has Shortage of 300K Teachers, School Staff

To stay in their profession, said a union leader, educators need "professional respect" including fair pay and the right "to make teaching and learning decisions for their students."

Julia Conley ·

94% of Pre-Packaged and Homemade US Baby Foods Contain Toxic Heavy Metals: Study

"FDA must go beyond the baby food aisle and set strong standards for these contaminants," said the national director of Healthy Babies Bright Futures.

Kenny Stancil ·

Arctic Warming Nearly Four Times Faster Than Earth as a Whole, Study Finds

"Scientific data keeps showing that the situation is more urgent than we had previously thought."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo