The Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet is investigating a state employee who works with children in the Department of Juvenile Justice for recent social media postings that Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown has denounced as bigoted and violent.
William Krider, a rehabilitation instructor who provides vocational training for juvenile offenders, made a series of racially inflammatory comments on his public Facebook profile last month, in the wake of nationwide protests over the lack of indictments for police officers who killed African-American men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City. Using racial epithets and violent rhetoric, Krider disparaged those who were killed and those who criticized the police.
Last month, Krider posted an article on his Facebook page about a memorial for Ferguson teenager Michael Brown at the spot where he was shot and killed by a police officer, adding the comment: “Makes me sick to my stomach these savages are allowed to place this in the middle of the street like a shrine for a thug and a thief!!!!!!!”
In the comments of an article posted on Facebook about a police officer asked to stop selling T-shirts that read “BREATHE EASY. DON’T BREAK THE LAW” — a perversion of “I can’t breathe,” the last words of New Yorker Eric Garner after a police officer placed him in a lethal chokehold, and which later became a catchphrase of the protests against a grand jury’s failure to indict the officer — Krider referred to Garner as a “thug.” He wrote that athletes wearing “I Cant’ Breathe” T-shirts showed “ignorance and stupidity,” and added, “I think I would be a little slow showing up to one of their homes if 911 call came in.”
In Krider’s most inflammatory comments, on an article posted on Facebook about a police officer shot and killed in Florida, he used violent rhetoric that was both implicitly and directly targeted at African-Americans and non-white people. Krider used the n-word in one comment that was later deleted. Below are some of those comments:
– “going to be a civil civilwar real fast and i am one ready to ensure a lot of people don’t see another day!”
– “yes, they want to start a civil war for equality????? they kill each other live like animals and want equality????”
– “black, mexican, oriental and white niggers, no jobs, selling drugs, bullying the streets take it back america find them in your homes shoot to kill, they want to rob come together find them and take care of it ourselves!!!! our congressman and woman ignore our pleas oust them and replace them. these sports figures want to show their support oust them stop going to the games and buying their shit!!!!!”
– “poisoning our kids, raping the system, you think your owed???? i got your payment come around my area and sell please!!!!!”
– “if you cannot take care of children get fixed stop having them to support your sorry ass lifestyle of pathetic!!!”
– “bag n a tag”
A source brought the comments to the attention of Insider Louisville. In turn, IL presented the comments to Department of Juvenile Justice spokeswoman Stacy Floden, who responded in an email last Tuesday: “We are not aware of any issues involving Mr. Krider and his work to date. We constantly monitor our employees’ actions with respect to coworkers and youth in their care.”
Last Wednesday, however, Secretary Brown strongly denounced Krider’s remarks in a prepared statement to IL. “The language in the Facebook posts is abhorrent and inflammatory,” he said. “The bigotry and flippant attitude toward violence and the use of deadly force is alarming and personally offensive. These views do not reflect the values of the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Cabinet.”
On Friday afternoon, Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin told IL that the administration is investigating Krider’s comments and trying to determine whether he made them on state time or property. In his statement to IL, Sec. Brown indicated that if Krider made the inflammatory comments on his own time and with his own computer, the Cabinet might not have any recourse.
“What is subject to control and distinct limitation is a person’s behavior, especially in the workplace,” he said. “At this time, I have no information that leads me to believe that this employee has said or done anything in the workplace that is discriminatory, offensive, or potentially dangerous.”
There is no social media policy for employees, Brislin says, although the Department of Juvenile Justice does have a code of ethics and conduct that could apply to Krider’s actions. Specifically, their policy prohibits publishing “abusive or objectionable language in either public or private messages” online, as well as written conduct “that either degrades, shows hostility, or aversion towards a youth on the basis of race.”
Additionally, the policy says “all persons shall act in a manner that provides youth with a positive role model,” and “shall be aware that their personal conduct reflects upon the integrity of the agency and its ability to provide services to youth.”
According to Brislin, more than half of the juvenile offenders who Krider works with are non-white.