Sioux Rapids, IA – The Sioux Rapids City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to suspend the police chief for two weeks without pay for posting a Facebook comment that apparently called protesters blocking the streets “road bumps.”
Sioux Rapids Police Chief Tim Porter posted the snarky remark on June 22 as a comment beneath a television station’s video of a car driving through a group of protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Des Moines, KMEG reported.
“Hit the gas and hang on over the road bumps,” Chief Porter commented.
The police chief issued an apology the next day and claimed the comment had been made on that particular post in error, KCCI reported.
“I have a huge apology to all that saw my Facebook page yesterday of myself making a comment about running over a person in the street holding a USA sign,” he said in a written statement. “Someone called me last night and asked me about it, I was just surprised myself. I was on another post working and somehow it accidentally was posted on the wrong post.”
“I just want to publicly apologize for my horrible mistake, my posting was a total accident,” the statement continued. “I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m all for peaceful protest, bad cops getting removed. People that know me, know I would never encourage anyone to run over any protester or anyone. I’m for change like everyone.”
“I feel horrible for my mistake. I’m sorry for all the confusion,” Chief Porter added.
On Monday night, the Sioux Rapids City Council met to discuss the incident, KMEG reported.
More than 100 community members attended in support of the popular police chief, many of them wearing t-shirts and carrying signs that heralded their support of Chief Porter.
“I don’t think there was any racial motivation behind his comment and I don’t see any reason why this disciplinary committee is even in effect. So, Tim, you have my family’s support,” said one supporter told the council during their meeting, according to KMEG.
NOW: Sioux Rapids city council meeting to determine if Police Chief Tim Porter will face disciplinary action after he commented on a video showing a vehicle driving through Black Lives Matter protesters that was posted by Des Moines, Iowa TV station KCCI earlier this month. pic.twitter.com/sdQ9X5nw0L
— Siouxland News (@SiouxlandNews) June 29, 2020
Many people have showed up to express their opinions at the special meeting pic.twitter.com/aAg69QD2Uw
— Emily Schrad (@EmilyKTIV4) June 29, 2020
After hearing from the community, the councilmembers voted unanimously to discipline the police chief with a two-week, unpaid suspension.
And they also voted to require the chief, the members of his police department, and the entire city council to attend sensitivity training, KMEG reported.
“He will be disciplined,” City Council Member Lynda Swanson told reporters after the vote. “Not only will Chief Porter take this class, but the city council will take the class also. Because none of us are perfect. And we can learn from the class. Just like he will.”
Chief Porter thanked the city council after the meeting, and greeted community members and thanked them for their support, KMEG reported.
“Our chief is a very good man,” community member Joel McCoy told KTIV. “For the sake of the argument, he made a huge mistake. But, I think pencils have erasers, I think we all deserve a second chance. I think that man will do all he can to make sure he’s a better person each day.”