San Jose Officer Phillip White Suspended After ‘Duty To Kill’ Tweet

David Cornell - Author
By

Dec. 16 2014, Updated 11:14 a.m. ET

San Jose Officer Phillip White made a mistake in response to protesters this week. Recent protests against police brutality have arisen since the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, with people in Ferguson. Missouri, and New York City having made their stand.

In both cases, a white police officer allegedly killed an unarmed member of the black community, and the Grand Jury decided not to indict the officers responsible. In response to the death of Eric Garner, whose famous words “I can’t breathe” have become a slogan, Twitter and other social media sites have used the similar hashtag #Icantbreathe to express their refusal to accept what the legal system considers justice.

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The San Jose Officer has been instrumental in teaching a local elementary school about gang prevention, but his tweets have gotten him the full attention of protesters. He tweeted messages to the public which he may have considered simply defending his family, though they were poorly worded.

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“Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you. #CopsLivesMatter.”

“By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty. Carrying my gun.”

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After having seen the messages on Twitter, the San Jose Police Department decided that his words were only making things worse. According to CBS News, Sgt. Heather Randol, a spokesperson for the police department, had some choice words about his statements.

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“It is extremely important for the community to know the comments made on Officer White’s private social media account do not reflect the thoughts or feelings of the men and women here at the San Jose Police Department. Nor do we condone this type of behavior.”

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Menlo College also had a statement online about San Jose Officer Phillip White’s words to the public, having distanced themselves from the now former basketball coach.

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Phillip White’s tweets and social media account have been removed, and he has been placed on administrative leave. For many, this isn’t enough, and a petition has been drawn up asking for him to be removed from the San Jose Police Department.

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“The San Jose community is appalled by Officer Phillip White’s threats to protesters through his twitter account. His words, if tolerated, make the notion of positive police-community relations impossible. Every second he has a badge and a gun, our community is at risk. He must be fired.”

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Police are supposed to be on your side as long as you’re obeying the law, but messages like those from San Jose Officer Phillip White do not reflect the ideal.

What do you think should be done with Phillip White? If you feel he should be removed from the San Jose Police Department, feel free to click here and sign the petition.

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