By Sharahn D. Boykin
and Malik Perkins
Fairborn police officer Lee Cyr will be placed on paid administrative leave for a Facebook comment he allegedly posted on a story about a Black Lives Matter activist who committed suicide, according the police chief.
The comment, “Love a happy ending,” was posted on the Ohio Politics Facebook page two days after MarShawn McCarrel killed himself on the front steps of the Ohio Statehouse on Monday.
Cyr, who also served as a West Carrollton Schools Board of Education member for about four years before moving out of the district in 2013, was off duty when the comment was posted, according to police. However, if the investigation determines Cyr is responsible for the post, he will have violated the police department’s social media policy.
“When we were made aware of a Facebook post that was linked to a Fairborn police officer, an internal affairs complaint was initiated,” said Fairborn Police Chief Terry Barlow.
The comment has been removed from the Facebook page. It was one of several on the Facebook post about McCarrel’s death that applauded the 23-year-activist’s suicide. The comments included remarks such as, “One less to worry about,” “One down, many more to go,” and “Good one down.”
Fairborn officers are not allowed to post to social media while on duty.
“Post that may discredit the police department are against policy, Barlow said. “… We take this seriously. We will ensure the professional standards of the department are upheld.”
The department declined to comment further because of the ongoing investigation.
“He will be on paid administrative leave which is protocol for someone who is going into an active investigation,” Barlow said.
Cyr did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Cyr, who earned $75,611 as a city officer in 2014, according to this newspaper’s I-Team payroll project, is one of 43 officers with the Fairborn Police Department.
The law enforcement agency has no minority officers. Last year the department had one black officer, but he transferred to another department.
Tom Roberts, a member of the Ohio Collaborative Community—Police Advisory Board and a former member of the Ohio Task Force on Community-Police Relations, said the Fairborn Police Department is taking an important step in the right direction.
“I think the issue is still relevant because now we find situations where, not only in this area but the entire state where there is a lack of sensitivity by the police department as it relates to African Americans,” Roberts said. “So the issue, unfortunately, is still before us.”
Roberts, who is also a vice president with the NAACP Dayton Unit and chairman of the organization’s political action committee, said the civil rights organization will be monitoring the incident involving the Fairborn police officer and any progress with the internal investigation, he added.
Cyr was put on leave a little more than a year after two longtime Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies were fired and three others suspended for allegedly sending dozens of racially insensitive text messages that disparaged and ridiculed black co-workers, President Barack Obama and others.
The Dayton Unit NAACP received 105 pages of the text messages from an anonymous source, and the civil rights organization conducted a four-month investigation into the allegations. The NAACP turned over the findings of its investigation after verifying the authenticity of and legitimacy of the messages.
Tristina Allen, a 21-year-old Wright State University senior, worked with McCarrell on the Black Lives Matter Movement and organized events with him through the Ohio Student Association.
“If he did post it I’m not surprised,” she said. “We have received a lot of negative responses. I think it is completely unacceptable for someone who is supposed to protect and serve to have that comment towards someone who is dead.”
Fairborn police did not have a lot of encounters with the Black Lives Matter Movement, but they were put on standby for some protest and demonstrations following the Beavercreek Walmart shooting in 2014. Fairborn officers responded to Walmart where John Crawford III was shot and killed by Beavercreek police while holding an air rifle.
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