The Trayvon Martin case seems to have been largely influenced by its momentum on social media sites like Facebook, and indeed, one might think it is almost certain that no arrest would have been made without the pressure placed on authorities to do so after the news of the unarmed Florida teen’s tragic death went viral.
And despite the massive outcry to precipitate an arrest in the Trayvon Martin case, the situation has been massively divisive among Americans- many of whom believe that George Zimmerman was either probably justified in his actions, that Martin may have been up to no good, or both.
Few people don’t have a strong opinion about the night Trayvon Martin died, its preceding moments and the aftermath, and one Florida Fire Chief has suffered severe repercussions at work after a controversial post he pasted to a Facebook status update reflected negatively on his department.
Miami-Dade Fire Captain Brian Beckmann dropped two ranks back down to firefighter after the following Facebook status was posted to his timeline:
“I and my coworkers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, (expletive), ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like [special prosecutor] Mrs. Corey, we speak only the truth. They’re just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn’t have anything to do with why people wonder if they’re about to get jacked by a thug.”
A subsequent disciplinary investigation report stated that Beckmann’s post “cast [Trayvon Martin] in a negative light as well as brought ill repute to our entire organization as a result of the reference to ‘my co-workers.'” In addition to the demotion, the former chief must undergo sensitivity training as well as a “Fit for Duty evaluation.” A union rep said the discipline was “excessive,” and plans to appeal.