The Troy University police chief has been suspended, effective immediately, after making what the university referred to as “inflammatory comments” online, according to a statement from the chancellor released Wednesday evening.
“Troy University strongly condemns the inflammatory comments made recently on social media by Troy University Chief of Police John McCall,” the statement from Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “We firmly reject any suggestion that George Floyd contributed to his own death or that his actions justify the lethal force inflicted on him.
“We support the calls for reform and an end to police violence that disproportionately targets our black citizens.”
An internal investigation is also underway, according to the statement.
The statement comes after a post with screenshots of the chief’s remarks had been shared on Facebook more than 400 times by 6 p.m. Wednesday.
“The Troy University Chief of Police cares more about defending a murder than he does the safety of his black students,” said the text of the shared post on Facebook. “If you’re a person of color at Troy University, do not expect him to protect you.”
The post also included the email for the chancellor’s office, encouraging upset students to reach out to the university and make their concerns known.
McCall commented regarding the death of George Floyd on social media after a Facebook friend shared an article regarding President Donald Trump’s appearance at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“Did George Floyd play a role in his own death? ABSOLUTELY!” wrote McCall. “He fought with the police who were making a lawful arrest.”
Police were called on Floyd because a store clerk suspected a counterfeit bill — the bill was discovered not to be counterfeit.
“If Floyd complies and doesn’t fight with the police is he still alive today? YES,” McCall said in the comments. “An officer made a mistake trying to restrain a violent man.
“Officers do what it takes to go home to their families. I don’t think it was intentional. Antifa and opportunists are turning this tragedy away from the real narrative to blame the President which is so wrong.”
George Floyd died after a police officer, Derek Chauvin, was captured on video holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes as Floyd pleaded to be allowed to stand, saying that he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has now been charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers who watched the incident are now also facing criminal charges for aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
McCall also gave his opinion about Trump’s visit to St. John’s in Washington, D.C. on Monday where police and secret service agents were said to use tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs to disperse peaceful demonstrators and journalists around Lafayette Square before Trump appeared at the church. A 7 p.m. curfew was put into effect just before his visit.
“The President wanted some private time to reflect at the church,” McCall said in his social media posts. “He was horrified that the criminals calling themselves protestors had attacked the church and wanted to see the damage himself… it wasn’t a prearranged photo op.
“These criminals are planning more attacks so they can steal more stuff,” McCall wrote. “Go out and earn things, don’t steal them because you can.”
Attorney General William Barr ordered law enforcement to disperse the crowd of peaceful protestors, although D.C. police had not requested any help, according to the Washington Post.
St. John’s was briefly set on fire on Sunday night during protests.
After outrage was expressed that the church was set ablaze, presidential advisor Hope Hicks organized the President’s walk to the church, according to the New York Times.
Critics of the President’s actions condemned his use of force for what could be considered a photo opportunity.