Law enforcement organizations were quick to embrace Facebook as a way to stay connected with the people they serve and protect. Now Facebook is stabbing them in the back, in the way the service seems to stab most people eventually.
The control-censorship-happy service, which has also revealed itself to be highly political, recently blocked the Illinois Association of Chiefs’ attempt to publicly commend an officer who nearly lost his life in a domestic incident call.
Why? The officer fatally shot a suspect who was attempting to kill him, and who nearly succeeded.
East Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Bieber was stabbed several times in the head and neck during the Feb. 2 incident, “causing the officer to bleed profusely” and damaging nerves and an artery. He tried unsuccessfully to use his Taser but the suspect, Joshua Crites, 19, managed to get on top of him.
With nonlethal force no longer an option, Bieber shot Crites with his firearm.
Bieber was then the subject of a Facebook post by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police for “not only for his sacrifice during and after the incident, but for being an outstanding officer serving and protecting the citizens of East Peoria every day.”
That’s when Facebook took the criminal’s side, claiming the post was about a “sensitive social issue” and blocking the state police group’s request to promote the post, which can be done for a fee.
In a statement to the Peoria Journal Star, Facebook said:
“This ad content has been correctly disapproved for violation of Facebook Advertising Policies and Guidelines. As per policy: Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.”
In other words, it might make Facebook look like it was supporting a cop who nearly died doing his job.
Ed Wojcicki, executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP), called Facebook’s decision “ridiculous.”
“The way we see it,” Wojcicki said, “is Facebook thinks it’s wrong to honor a brave police officer who suffered serious wounds while protecting his central Illinois city. How is that remotely political? Facebook must not realize that many police officers endure severe physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis.”