Local Law Enforcement Takes Bill Richardson to Task Over Facebook Fiasco
SAN ANGELO, TX - City Councilman Bill Richardson is in the news again for another controversial Facebook post--a post that may have him in hot water this time around. In fact, LIVE! is currently working on a bigger story at this time, but for now, we're going to provide some of the specifics.
Yesterday, Bill Richardson posted the following on his Facebook page at about 9 a.m. (unedited):
"I am asking non-'Hispanic': citizens of San Angelo to keep a written record of their encounters whit 'Hispanic' SAPD police officers."
He also added this:
After this post, people began to respond negatively, and by the evening, the San Angelo Law Enforcement Wives issued a statement in response.
Here is what the organization had to say:
"The San Angelo Law Enforcement Spouses Association stands in unity and solidarity in calling for the immediate resignation of Bill Richardson from his seat as city councilman for Single Member District 1 in San Angelo."
"Councilman Richardson's recent public comments on social media that called for 'non-Hispanic' members of our community to document their interactions with 'Hispanic' SAPD officers are dangerous and deeply troubling for our city and our police community for many reasons."
"Mr. Richardson's justification for his actions, based on his interpretation of interactions with a Hispanic SAPD officer who was responding to his call to SAPD dispatch about a Hispanic neighbor, [is] beyond the pale for any elected official."
"Even when Police Chief Frank Carter responded publicly on social media with appropriate means of action for any such complaint, Mr. Richardson said he 'will stick with my original statement.'"
"It is obvious to us that Mr. Richardson's actions indicate he is more interested in publicly drubbing up racial tensions between our police department and citizens than he is in representing his constituents and the City as a whole."
"Any elected official attempting to deepen racial divides is inexcusable; to do so with our police is reprehensible. There is no doubt to us, and many in San Angelo, that Mr. Richardson's statements serve to incite racism in our community and, at worst, could result in palpable threats and potential violence against some of our sworn law enforcement officers--our husbands and wives--based on the color of their skin."
"Mr. Richardson's actions are childish, and only reinforce a trend he has perpetuated on social media before and since he was elected to Single Member District 1's council seat. He certainly does not represent the standards of public service and leadership that our city should demand."
"Councilman Richardson must resign his seat on the San Angelo City Council immediately. Should he choose not to do so, the San Angelo Law Enforcement Spouses Association will do everything within its power in SMD 1 to remove him from office via recall, as per Section 48 of the San Angelo City Charter."
This afternoon, SAPD released this statement:
"Our community is diverse, just like the officers who make up this Department. Our officers are professionals and I hold them to a high standard. As a Department, we will continue to police this community in a professional manner, treating all citizens with respect regardless of their race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or disability."
"The inflammatory statements recently made by Council Member Bill Richardson on Social Media accomplish nothing but to fracture the relationships that we have worked so hard to build. At a time when police officer line-of-duty deaths are at an all-time high, it is vital that we continue to strive for unity and to build solid relationships with the public we serve."
"Although the department has not received an official complaint from Mr. Richardson concerning the Officer’s conduct, the audio concerning the February 18, 2017 contact with Mr. Richardson and two of our officers is currently under review. We are working with City Legal regarding the release of the audio recording in an effort to ensure public transparency and police accountability."
"If someone feels that an officer has acted inappropriately or violated the law, we urge them to file an official complaint with the San Angelo Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards at (325) 657-4463, (325) 657-4390, or email firstname.lastname@example.org."
At this time, reporter Maura Ballard is finalizing another story discussing this issue. Many of Richardson's constituents and residents in his area have responded to this recent social media fiasco. We will provide that update as soon as it's available.