State Watch

Massachusetts detective fired after post supporting Black Lives Matter

A Massachusetts detective has been fired over a social media post last month expressing support of her niece attending a Black Lives Matter rally.

According to a report from MassLive.com, Florissa Fuentes, who had recently joined the Springfield Police Department's Special Victims Unit, was fired on June 19 after a May post she made while not on duty.

"After I posted it, I started getting calls and texts from co-workers," Florissa Fuentes told MassLive.com.

Fuentes says she removed the Instagram post on June 1 and that she received a call from the head of the Detective Bureau, who said the police commissioner was upset with her.

"I was initially confused, but then I realized they thought I was being anti-cop. I wasn't," Fuentes told the news outlet. "I was just supporting my niece's activism. I had no malicious intent, and I wouldn't put a target on my own back. I'm out there on the streets every day like everyone else."

The photo that Fuentes shared was reportedly from protests that happened after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

Fuentes said that Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood told her she was "getting pressure from the mayor's office" and to "fix" what she did. Fuentes said the police commissioner suggested she post an apology, so Fuentes did. 

"The commissioner said: 'You have to find a way to fix this. I'm getting pressure from the mayor's office,' " Fuentes said, according to MassLive. "I said, 'Ok, I'm sorry. How do I fix it?' Officer Gentile suggested I post an apology on the police union Facebook page. So I went home later and I did."

Clapprood has denied that account and also told MassLive that this was not Fuentes's first issue with the department.

Fuentes said she received mixed reactions from her colleagues after posting the apology to her feed. Some said they are afraid to express support against police brutality after what happened to her. 

"There's a lot of officers who are afraid to speak up about this issue and don't want to be targeted as well," one officer told MassLive under the condition of anonymity. 

According to Boston.com, other officers have been fired for social media posts, including an officer in 2017 who posted a Facebook post in response to the violence during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

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