The Fontana Police Department in California is facing backlash after calling a Muslim American Congresswoman “un-American” on its official Twitter account.
The post, which included a link to a story about Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and her promise to shut down Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said, “Nice knowing you! I became bulimic because I vomit every time I hear your BS. You are one of the most un-American persons I know.”
The police department later deleted the tweet and posted an apology. “If anyone saw the inappropriate tweet that went out earlier, apparently someone gained access to our account,” Fontana PD tweeted. “We apologize, and are working on fixing the issue.”
The department reportedly learned about the offensive tweet when they were contacted by a reporter. However, authorities said that the department’s Twitter feed had not been hacked. According to the Fontana Herald News, the department said that the post was made by an off-duty employee “who mistakenly thought he/she was posting on their personal Twitter feed.”
A statement to the Herald News said that the officer previously had authority to post on the department’s official social media accounts but had lost that privilege. “A personnel investigation has been initiated and appropriate actions will be followed in accordance with California Government Code Section 3300-3313.”
“This is an embarrassment to the Fontana Police Department,” officials said. “This careless act does not reflect the values of the men and women that honorably serve our community.” Fontana Police Department did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for further comment.
The hateful tweet was quickly denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“We condemn the tweet sent out by the Fontana Police Department attacking a member of Congress with such hate and vitriol,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement. “The current trend of normalizing hate speech has emboldened bigots in their speech, as well as in their actions and it is obvious that bigotry exists within the ranks of the Fontana Police Department.”
Ayloush called on the department and the Fontana City Council to hold “an open and thorough” investigation and for the results of the investigation to be released publicly.
It was unclear what consequences, if any, the officer may face. Fontana Police Sergeant Kellen Guthrie told The Los Angeles Times, “On an issue like this, we want to do a very thorough investigation.”
The department said it strengthened the social media account’s password protection protocols to prevent similar incidents from happening again. Guthrie told the newspaper that officers can face discipline for actions conducted on- and off-duty. He declined to comment on whether the officer involved would be disciplined.
However, he said, “We can’t get involved in politics.”
Congresswoman Tlaib, along with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), was one of the first Muslim American women elected to Congress. The two Democrats have faced hateful attacks and death threats, including attacks from President Donald Trump. Omar has reported getting an increasing amount of threats after the president attacked her on Twitter.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.