McKeesport, PA — An officer on the job for only a few weeks has been fired by the McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Police Department after an old social media post surfaced showing her in a uniformed selfie captioned with a racial slur.
“I’m the law today n**ga,” now-former Officer Melissa Adamson, who is white, wrote atop her vanity selfie in a post to social media.
Predictably and understandably, the Internet exploded in fury over the image — alerting the mayor of McKeesport to the inexcusable post.
“As Mayor of McKeesport, I feel compelled to publicly address an issue that has come to my attention via social media. A past social media post surfaced a few hours ago involving a recently hired part-time police officer, who has been training as a probationary employee for just a few weeks. This post displays a degree of conduct and character that is far different from what I would expect from an officer in this city,” Mayor Michael Cherepko wrote on the City of McKeesport Facebook page.
“It is absolutely unacceptable. Without hesitation, my office and the police chief’s office immediately concluded that this officer’s actions will not be tolerated in the City of McKeesport. She has been relieved of her duties, and her employment has been terminated.”
While social media debated whether or not the white officer meant the slang version of the racial slur with actual, racist intent, others questioned the slight authoritarian bent Adamson seemed to convey.
Her uniform in the picture bore insignia from the Pitcairn Police Department.
Because that uniform appeared to have long sleeves, Pitcairn Police Chief Scott Farally told WTAE, the picture was most likely taken months ago in colder weather. Farally had not been made aware of the image prior to Tuesday, but told the station an investigation would have been launched if he had.
“The Pitcairn Police Department holds high integrity for the community we serve and this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” Farally posted to the borough’s Facebook page, after outcry forced him to respond publicly.
On September 20, Adamson resigned from the Pitcairn force to join McKeesport, the chief added.
For her part, Adamson insists the image has been leaked maliciously by a former colleague who wishes to ruin her career in law enforcement.
“An altercation happened between me and a former police officer and he’s bringing up his dirt, ruining my career, which has been done,” Adamson exclusively told WTAE.
The now-disgraced former officer explained the racial slur was a common way people in her social circles addressed each other, and wasn’t intended to have spiteful overtones.
“Everyone that knows me knows I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” Adamson asserted. “And people who don’t know me, I can understand why it was misconstrued to where it looks racist, but like I said everyone who knows me knows I’m not racist.”
Now, Adamson’s only remaining job in Versailles Borough will be the subject of an emergency meeting by officials to determine what disciplinary action, if any, should be undertaken.
“I don’t want this to affect how I do my job,” Adamson said. “I don’t want people to look at me differently, thinking that I can’t build myself up to the standard of a police officer. Again, it was a stupid mistake. It shouldn’t have been posted in general, regardless of how my intentions were.”
“I’m sorry for who I did offend. It was not my intention,” she continued. “I can’t express how sorry I am for how I made you feel — emotionally, physically — again, it wasn’t my intention.”
Adamson’s snap judgment without hesitation in originally posting such an image to social media evidences precisely the same indiscretion — and later, regret — which seems to drive so many officers to pull the trigger without thoroughly evaluating a situation. Worse, the racial slur, in general — regardless of her actual intent — at the absolute minimum displays cultural and general insensitivity.
Thanks to the Internet and the power of social media, an officer with a highly questionable decision-making skills might have to find another occupation not involving a badge and deadly weapon.