On October 21 the San Jose Police Department confirmed Officer Phillip White has been terminated after raising public ire by allegedly sending “combative tweets” to antagonize Black Lives Matter.
White had been with the department “for over two decades and was heavily involved in youth outreach, particularly with anti-gang programs.”
According to the Mercury News, the SJPD released a statement on the termination which simply indicated that White “is no longer an employee with the city of San Jose.” They did not elaborate and did not pinpoint the day on which the actual termination took place.
It was nearly a year ago–December 2014–when White’s tweets took the department and the city of San Jose by surprise.
One of White’s tweets said, “Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you. #CopsLivesMatter.” Another said, “By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun.”
The Mercury News reports that the second tweet “was an allusion to the July 2014 death of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD police officer and whose last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ became a national rallying cry against police brutality.”
The negative reaction to White’s tweets was so strong that “one large” protest held outside SJPD headquarters was even attended by SJPD Chief Chief Larry Esquivel.
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