A Florida police union is offering to hire officers from Minnesota, New York and Georgia who left their jobs or were fired amid protests over the death of George Floyd.
CNN first reported that the Brevard County Fraternal Order of Police wrote in a pair of Facebook posts that it was seeking to hire the "Buffalo 57," referring to 57 officers in Buffalo, N.Y., who resigned after the city's mayor suspended two officers for shoving an elderly man to the ground, causing him to bleed from his head.
The union also expressed interest in hiring the "Atlanta 6," which apparently referred to six officers under investigation over a video that showed them dragging an African American couple from their vehicle during recent protests. Those six officers are all facing felony charges; two have been fired.
"Hey Buffalo 57...and Atlanta 6...we are hiring in Florida," one post read. "Lower taxes, no spineless leadership, or dumb mayors rambling on at press conferences... Plus... we got your back!"
"Minneapolis officers... we will not disband our agencies or give in... we are hiring in Florida," the group added in another post targeting officers of Minneapolis's police department, currently rocked by protests over the death of Floyd in the department's custody.
The sheriff for Brevard County, Wayne Ivey, distanced the department from the posts, while a spokesperson for the sheriff's office added that if any violations of policy occurred, they would be addressed.
"Although we find the comments he made disturbing, there are still some protections provided by the Constitution on free speech," the spokesperson said. "If there was a violation of policy, I'm sure it will be dealt with."
"To be clear, the 'Brevard County F.O.P.' page and organization has no official affiliation with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and was not authorized in any capacity by me or our agency to recruit or comment on our behalf!! The comments made by their members do not in any way represent the views of our agency and were made as individuals who were not acting in the capacity of a Law Enforcement Officer!!" added the sheriff in a Facebook post.
Protests have erupted across the country over Floyd's death. Four officers have been fired over the incident and now face charges; one seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes is charged with second-degree murder.
The head of the Brevard County FOP defended the posts in a statement to Florida Today, explaining that officers were justified to use force against demonstrators.
"The police had the legal authority in both cases," Bert Gamin said. "At the time the warnings were provided, the citizens were already breaking the law. Those citizens chose to disregard the warnings. It led directly to escalations and confrontations with the police. When we issue lawful commands/warnings, citizens have a responsibility to comply. The reality is failure to comply leads to escalation."