Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oelwein, IA: Facebook Post of Off-Duty Cop Mooning a "Clinton/Kaine" Sign While Holding a Gun Goes Viral, Spawning Anti-BLM Debates

There's this debate happening online and in parts of Iowa involving a reserve police officer and a crude Facebook post involving a Hillary Clinton campaign sign, a gun, and a full moon.

Oelwein Reserve Officer Jay Perkins posted a picture of himself online with his pants pulled down while he points a sign at a Clinton / Kaine campaign sign.

Apparently, the people of Oelwein, IA, are split on the subject. For example:
"But I think it's kind of funny," said Oelwein resident Dustin Staley. "But I also think, if I would've done it, I would've been arrested for it. And probably charged as a sex offender because of the guidelines in this town."
And...
"He is a public official," said Vickie Wendel. "He shouldn't be doing stuff like that. And actually a normal person shouldn't be doing stuff like that either."
I learned about this story last night from this article, where various entities weighed in on whether or not this Facebook post was legally protected free expression or if it was a form a misconduct meriting disciplinary action. (Spoiler: Opinions were mixed!!)

I sadly made the mistake of reading the comments section, which quickly became a series of pro-cops/anti-blacks comments.

One guy from Ames, IA, wrote:
The police have to live in the dangerous environment Obama and Hillary have created. Blacks lives matter is killing cops all across the country, behind their absolute lie of a cause.

If anybody should be able to do this it's a cop! Thank you for your service officer! We know the kind of scumbags you have to deal with!
Which brought out my snarky side, as evidenced by this follow-up comment:
... on the mean streets of Oelwein, IA.
Which brought out accusations that I'm clueless. And racist. See?
Jon Trouten wow that is just clueless... police set ups and attacks are happening everywhere.. not just in the neighborhoods your racist mind thought of.
Which prompted this response by me:
"Racist mind." Menawhile, Oelwein hasn't had more than one murder since 2002.
Which is true. It might even be longer than 2002, as google didn't quickly provide me with data for 2001 or before.

Which prompted this response by another guy:
Jon Trouten according to their demo according to wiki, they have a pop of around 6,000 and are 96.1% white. I'm gonna take a leap of faith and say they don't have much of a BLM problem lol.
Which brought me back to this important point. This story isn't about #BlackLivesMatter. See?
This isn't a news story about BLM.
Here's the deal. Oelwein, IA, is a small community about two hours north of here. I don't live there, but I have clients up there and I often drive through when traveling to see family. I challenge anyone to stop in Oelwein for lunch. You might not find many black people (though I personally know of at least one or two), but there is indeed racial and cultural diversity in that community. For example, I recently stopped for lunch at the Pizza Ranch restaurant. I found myself surrounded by typical white folks. But there were Hispanic workers and family. There were Amish laborers. Heck, there was even one gay social worker in the restaurant that day. Diversity exists, even in small-town Iowa. You just have to keep your eyes open.

But this isn't (or shouldn't be) a cops vs. blacks story.

This is a news article about a local cop who wisely or unwisely tweeted a pic of himself exposing parts of his body that shouldn't ordinarily be exposed in public on a sign (that presumably belongs to someone else) while messing around with a weapon while he's off-duty (judging from his outfit). This is also about whether or not that conduct violates the standards of his workplace even if he's off-duty.

In other words, I find it fascinating how people take one story a very quickly run down several other explosive rabbit-holes!

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