Pleasantville Officer Disciplined For Offensive Facebook Post About Obama

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Pleasantville Police Officer Peter Burns has been suspended without pay for 60 days following an accusation that he posted racist comments on his Facebook page. Photo Credit: Daily Voice file photo

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Pleasantville Police Officer Peter Burns will be suspended for two months for posting racist comments about President Barack Obama on his Facebook page.

Burns was accused in December of posting comments on his personal page, in which he referred to Obama as a "Muslim commie" and told the president to "go die in a shallow grave." Following the Police Department's discovery of the comments, Police Chief Richard Love placed Burns on administrative leave while an investigation was conducted. The Facebook page has since been taken down.

The Village Board has approved disciplinary action against Burns that includes a 60-day suspension without pay or benefits, the forfeiture of 25 vacation days, an assessment on his fitness for duty, a training program that will focus on diversity and sensitivity, and a two-year "last chance" agreement when he returns to duty.

"These statements undermine confidence in law enforcement, and they cast doubt upon this officer to perform his sworn duties in a fair, unbiased manner," said Mayor Peter Scherer in a statement. "I want to be clear that the village has no interest in the political beliefs of its employees. We do, however, have a fundamental interest in ensuring that the statements and actions of our employees do not harm their ability to perform their responsibilities."

Scherer said that the village conducted a thorough review of the incident, which included a look at the rights of employees, the responsibilities of police officers and the evolving issues around social media. He said that Burns has also apologized for his comments.

"As we move forward from this incident, we remind everyone of the bedrock commitment of this community and its Village Board that every resident of Pleasantville, every visitor, every person passing through this good place, deserves confidence that they will be fairly and equally treated regardless of race, faith or personal beliefs," Scherer said.

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