WASHINGTON - The story of a D.C. firefighter who took to Facebook to say “citizens should take law into their own hands to target racist cops” has exploded on social media.
More than 1.2 million people have viewed the interview and nearly 6,000 people have sounded off, many saying he was well within his first amendment rights to say he what he did.
Everyone has the right to express their own opinion but in the eye s of the D.C. fire department what Norman Brooks did is wrong.
He violated the departments social media policy which specifically states a member should not post anything that may be perceived as threatening. In the eyes of the police, with whom Brooks with every day he is on the job, his comments could be viewed as threats to law enforcement.
He is currently under investigation by both agencies.
Norman Brooks is a nine year veteran of the D.C. fire department and as he told FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis on Wednesday, he does not condone violence against cops and posted his angry message after seeing the video from the police shooting in Baton Rouge.
“All I'm saying is that anybody, whether it’s a criminal cop or a criminal person tries to attack you or tries to make you feel some sort of way within your own community you have the right to defend yourself and that's all I put in my Facebook status, anybody who sees that any differently then I don't know what to tell you because I have never committed a crime in my life, I love my people and I say what I got to say,” Brooks said.
But some people might view what brooks said quite differently. In the Facebook post that he wrote while he was off duty, he said, “If you are a cop and are not in support of these people then it’s about time to start turning these type a [expletives] in or at least givin out some addresses so we the people can handle em.”
He also said, “I’m saying the citizens should take the law in their own hands and target racist cops. Those pigs in baton Rouge deserve nothing short of a bullet in their heads.” "These people are not being punished, I don't wish any harm on any innocent people or anyone in that instance, I'm just saying that's what my post is about, maybe I used strong language but that's just what it is I mean these events are starting to affect me and my family and my friends and if you are a black person out there or just a concerned American and you are not concerned about it I feel sorry for you,” Brooks explained.
So how are police officers reacting to this? FOX 5 took our questions to Andy Maybo, the president of the FOP’s D.C. Lodge 1.
"I was disappointed that a civil servant, someone that works with police all the time, could make such a statement but I'm glad MPD as well as D.C. fire are investigating it as quick as they are,” Maybo said.
Despite some of the strong language in the post, Maybo says he didn’t see it as threatening, "I personally did not, I think it was more anger, I think it was more frustration and again where does this anger and frustration come from does it come from social media? Does it come from the media? At the end of the day though we all have a job and that is to protecting the residents and the citizens, the tourists in Washington, D.C. and that's what we need to focus on.”