This is horrifying — but at least authorities did the right thing.
A police officer in Nashville, Tennessee has been decommissioned and is currently under investigation after posting an inflammatory comment on Facebook in the wake of the officer-involved Philando Castile shooting in Minnesota earlier this week.
Castile, as you remember from our earlier reporting, was shot four times by an officer in a community outside Minneapolis during a traffic stop, bleeding to death as his girlfriend sat beside him taking video of the incident for a live stream that has since gone viral.
On Thursday, Nashville police officer Anthony Venable (pictured above, right) commented on the tragedy using his Facebook account, responding to a thread with a chilling message (below):
"Yeah. I would have done 5"
The Nashville Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability believes that '5' to be in reference to the number of shots the Minnesota officer fired at Castile — in other words, saying he would have shot one more time.
Authorities — and the media — captured the comment for posterity (below):
When questioned by a supervisor on Thursday, Venable admitted to having made the comment, alleging it was in jest during a sarcastic conversation with a friend of his on the social network.
Nevertheless, he has been decommissioned as an officer pending the results of the department's investigation, meaning he can not currently serve on the force and, depending on the findings, may eventually either be officially fired or reinstated for active duty.
Thankfully, Nashville cops don't sound too thrilled with Venable's decision-making here — police chief Steve Anderson told the media (below):
"The police department is treating this matter very seriously and took immediate action, regardless of what he claims the context to have been."
Sure, it could have been a sarcastic comment by Venable, but it was a scary, chilling, poorly-timed and tacky comment, too — and one that unfortunately may say far too much about Venable's priorities while policing that community.
With all the horror going on around the country regarding this exact issue of police brutality and violence, Venable's case is all too timely a reminder of the sometimes fractured relationship between law enforcement communities and the people they are supposed to serve and protect.
For what it's worth, Nashville Metro Police named Venable their Field Operations Bureau's Officer Of The Year in 2014. What a fall from grace for the eight-year veteran.