Sioux Rapids Police Chief Tim Porter may face disciplinary action from the city council following a Facebook comment he posted that appeared to encourage violence against Des Moines Black Lives Matter protesters.
The city council has scheduled a special meeting for June 29 beginning at 6 p.m. A public hearing, possible closed session and potential disciplinary action are on the meeting agenda.
Porter has been on the receiving end of widespread backlash after he commented on a Facebook post from Des Moines television station KCCI. The post was a video of a man driving a pickup truck through a crowd of activists outside a Des Moines Hy-Vee on June 20.
The comment from Porter, which was posted Monday and has since been deleted, stated in all capital letters: “hit the gas and hang on over the road bumps.”
The comment has been shared widely across several social media platforms.
Hey @SLTimes reporters: I know you guys often report on news in the Sioux Rapids area, has anyone looked into police chief Porter’s incendiary Facebook comments about committing vehicular manslaughter in a crowd of protestors? pic.twitter.com/uHCs5ZFIv6— 🅂🅃🅁🄴🅂🅂🄴🄳 🄸🄽 🅃🄷🄴 🄼🄸🄳🅆🄴🅂🅃 ✨ (@Siriusly_Cullen) June 23, 2020
KCCI reported Porter issued a statement on Tuesday with an apology and an explanation.
Porter said he accidentally posted the comment on KCCI’s video post and that the comment was meant for a different Facebook post.
“I just want to publicly apologize for my horrible mistake, my posting was a total accident,” Porter’s statement read in part, according to KCCI. “I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m all for peaceful protest, bad cops getting removed. People that know me know I would never encourage anyone to run over any protester or anyone.”
The Signal left messages seeking comment with Sioux Rapids City Hall and the police department. Those messages were unreturned as of Friday afternoon.
The city released a statement from Sioux Rapids Mayor Jim Wise and the city council on Tuesday that stated “actions are being taken to maintain public trust.”
“A recent incident involved a response to a post on social media by a member of the police representing Sioux Rapids,” according to the statement. “This is being investigated and will be addressed with the officer. The city will take any and all disciplinary action deemed necessary in this situation.”
The statement continued that “public trust and accountability are the foundations of policing.”
“We are committed to running a police department that respects the rights of every officer and every citizen and guest of our community,” the statement concluded.