FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The Fort Worth Police Department on Thursday fired a veteran officer for posting a “racially insensitive meme” on Facebook that drew wide public criticism last month, police said in a statement.
Officer Roger Ballard was given a “indefinite suspension,” which a spokesman described as “equivalent to termination,” for violating the department’s general orders, according to the statement. It said that after hearing about the post on Sept. 20, “Internal Affairs quickly began an investigation and concluded that Officer Roger Ballard was responsible for posting the racially insensitive meme containing a photo which led to numerous complaints and public outrage.”
Internal affairs investigators are also looking into a second officer’s involvement.
Ballard worked as a patrol officer on the day shift and had been with the department since 2002, said Officer Buddy Calzada. He declined to describe Ballard’s Facebook post or say whether the officer is appealing his firing.
The meme showed a photo of a Black man in a casket accompanied by the text, “The face you make when you don’t understand ‘Stop resisting,'” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The paper cites screenshots of the post on a personal Facebook page that has since been deactivated.
The Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately clear if Ballard has an attorney.