May 28, 2018
Police Officer Under Fire After Facebook Post Wishing Student Activist David Hogg Would Be Run Over By A Car

A Florida police officer is in trouble after making a Facebook post wishing that school shooting survivor-turned-activist David Hogg would be run over by a car at a recent protest at a Publix supermarket.

Hogg was a student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people in February. Since then, Hogg has emerged as a leader of a gun reform effort, and this week organized a protest of the supermarket chain for its support of a Florida gubernatorial candidate who supports the NRA. As the Sun-Sentinel reported, that protest drew the ire of Florida police officer Brian Valenti.

Valenti took to Facebook to comment about a "die-in" organized by Hogg in which people laid down in front of cashiers at a Publix in Parkland to mark 100 days since the school shooting. Valenti wrote that he hoped "some old lady loses control of her car in that lot" while Hogg was leading the protest.

The 23-year veteran of the Coconut Creek Police Department later took the post down, the Sun-Sentinel reported, but not before a woman took a screenshot and reported it to the police commissioner. She asked that Valenti be disciplined for making the post.

Rod Skirvin, a leader of the local police union, said Valenti felt remorse over his post wishing harm on David Hogg and other protesters.

"He feels terrible and is very willing to apologize in person," Skirvin said. "We are going to speak to the chief on Tuesday when he goes back to work. There will be disciplinary repercussions for him."

The protest itself was a success, as Publix announced this week that it would be suspending donations to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam.

"At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues," the grocery store said in a statement, via ABC News. "We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers."

The Coconut Creek Police Department said it is looking into the post from Brian Valenti wishing that David Hogg would be hit by a car, but did not say what kind of discipline the officer might face.