Akron police officer suspended over Facebook post about Farrakhan

AKRON, Ohio--  Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has suspended an Akron police officer with pay while an internal investigation takes place regarding a threatening message he is accused of posting on his private Facebook page last week.

In the post, he appears to say he is surprised that no one has "offed" Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Community leaders, including Nation of Islam representative Brother Steven Muhammed, addressed city council Monday sharing a letter in which he expressed concerns regarding the post saying, "This post advocated the assassination of the honorable minister Louis Farrakhan."

"Racism, hatred and vitriol could lead to conduct unbecoming of an officer," said Muhammed.

"We have seen no evidence or redirection or objection to any of his language. While people are free to share their ideas and views, even beliefs, the conflict here is in the application of service to many of the same people who [the officer] espouses to despise. There are many who work for the Akron police department who are sincere, determined to protect and serve," added Muhammed, who said he respects those who are in authority.

Horrigan's Chief of Staff, James Hardy, read a statement from the mayor saying:

"The city of Akron is aware of the comments found on the Facebook page of an APD officer. The views expressed in this post are not those of the city or of the Akron Police Department. Furthermore comments made by any employee condoning violence or bigotry or any type of hate will never be tolerated. An investigation into the matter has been initiated and more information will be forthcoming. The Akron Police Department and the city are committed to building relationships with community members and providing the highest level of service to keeping our citizens safe."

Hardy said at the direction of the mayor, the officer was placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

"The mayor is determined to make sure this is handled appropriately and swiftly as it will never be tolerated as long as he is mayor," said Hardy.

Following Monday night's council meeting, Councilmember Tara Mosley Samples told FOX 8 News, "I commend the mayor on responding quickly in addressing the matter in such a swift way.  That's what the community wanted to see and I think it's good that he did it without it going to the council. I do believe some of his statements and some of the things posted on his Facebook give us all grave concern. I do believe he has the right to freedom of speech; however, when you are an officer sworn to serve and protect all residents regardless of race or religion, you are in a different category than the average citizen."