Officer on leave after tweets threaten protesters

Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group/AP PhotoIn this Oct. 28

Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group/AP PhotoIn this Oct. 28

A Northern California police department put one of its officers on leave Monday and is investigating threatening comments from his Twitter account about demonstrators who have participated in protests over the recent deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York.

The San Jose Police Department said Officer Phillip White was sidelined after officials learned of statements made Saturday from his Twitter account.

In the tweets, White said he would kill anyone who threatens him or his family. He also said he would be off-duty at the movies with his gun if anyone “feels they can't breathe or their lives matter.”

The tweets and hashtag played on protest slogans “I can't breathe” and “black lives matter.”

Efforts to reach White through the San Jose Police Officer's Association were not successful.

The tweets and White's Twitter account have been deleted amid a social media firestorm over the comments. White's department, union and a college where he coached basketball all condemned the comments.

“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,” San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel said.

The department said it has received “numerous media inquiries” about White since the online news site Buzzfeed reported the officer's tweets Sunday.

“Offensive, disrespectful and inappropriate social media comments have no place in the public discourse surrounding the tragic loss of life from recent officer involved incidents,” the San Jose Police Officers' Association said in a prepared statement. “We condemn these comments.”

Menlo College, a small private school about 25 miles south of San Francisco, cut ties with White, who served as a paid, part-time assistant basketball coach.

“The college will not be represented by expressions of intolerance and bigotry on the campus, on social media, or on the Internet,” the college said in a statement.

The San Jose Mercury News in October wrote about the 20-year veteran's success with a gang prevention education program for schoolchildren. The paper reported that the program was widely regarded for addressing life issues with youngsters, including choices and consequences, peer pressure and bullying and harassment prevention.

White was described as “really dynamic with the kids” in the story. The paper also described him as a “positive role model” for the children enrolled in the gang prevention program.

Bay Area NewsPeninsulaSan Jose Police DepartmentSJPDTwitter

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Passengers ride the 14-Mission Muni bus on Friday, March 12, 2021. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit officials fear Free Muni pilot could hurt already-strained service levels

Supporters say fare cuts could increase ridership, help low-income residents

The vacant property at 730 Stanyan St. in the Haight currently houses a safe sleeping site for the homeless. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Affordable housing project on former McDonald’s site delayed as city adds units

The start of construction on an affordable housing project on the site… Continue reading

Visitors read a notice hanging on the Polk Street entrance to City Hall on Thursday, March 26, 2020, shortly after the building was closed. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City Hall reopening to the public on June 7 after long closure due to COVID-19

San Francisco will reopen City Hall to the public on June 7… Continue reading

Historic streetcars are undergoing testing on The Embarcadero to prepare for their return to service on May 15.<ins></ins>
What to expect for Muni Metro’s relaunch on May 15

Significant service restoration includes downtown subway tunnels and historic streetcars

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and running back Raheem Mostert (31) celebrate after Mostert scores his fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
49ers on prime-time TV five times in 2021

Usually a team that finishes in last place and won only six… Continue reading

Most Read