St. Louis police lieutenant Jerry Foster is in some hot water after he made a social media post complaining that he saw white people doing manual labor at a nearby Mexican restaurant.
The white police officer made reference to a restaurant near his home and suggested that the manual labor should be done by Latinos, not white men. As news station KSDK reported, Foster seemed incredulous at the sight.
“I’m not sure what the hell is going on in our country these days,” Foster wrote in a screenshotted post. “I just drove by an authentic Mexican restaurant in town; and there were white guys putting on a new roof, cutting the grass and doing landscaping.”
While Jerry Foster did not post the exact name of the restaurant, he had tagged a location near an establishment called Casa Romero, which Raw Story noted is currently under construction. One of the white construction workers on the project said he was shocked that such bigotry would come from a high-ranking police officer, of all people.
“It’s disturbing and I hate to see it,” he told news station KMOV, via Raw Story, “but it just shows that it does exist and it’s sad.”
Foster’s social media post has caught the attention of the Ethical Society of Police, an organization that promotes police accountability in the St. Louis area. In 2016, the organization earned national acclaim for a report on the St. Louis Metro Police Department that outlined racial disparities and race-based police tactics.
“It is racially insensitive at the least,” Rev. Darryl Gray, the organization’s community liaison, told KSDK. “This is someone’s foundation. Their cultural foundational understanding of black versus white or white versus brown or us versus them.”
The St. Louis area had seen a considerable amount of tension between police officers and members of minority groups, including the protests that erupted in nearby Ferguson after the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Subsequent reports found that police officers had frequently been accused of being too rough with black suspects and unfairly targeting blacks.
Groups like the Ethical Society of Police have tried to create better understanding in the aftermath of the protests, bringing greater understanding to both sides.
As Raw Story noted, Jerry Foster had been in trouble in the past for making controversial Facebook posts. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he bemoaned that the Democratic National Convention invited Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, to speak at the event. Foster referred to the party as the “Democratic Criminal Party,” the report noted.
It was not immediately clear if Jerry Foster could face any consequences for the Facebook post complaining about white construction workers doing manual labor at a Mexican restaurant.