Social media complaints continue to target members of local law - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Social media complaints continue to target members of local law enforcement

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Two Chattanooga community groups, Chattanooga Organized for Action and Mercy Junction are demanding accountability when it comes to local law enforcement and comments they make online. 

Group members claim several officers with the Chattanooga Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office have made comments that are degrading to women and even racist.

Earlier this month Chattanooga Police Officer William Puckett came under scrutiny for comments he made on a public Facebook group. 

One woman filed a complaint against Officer Puckett after reading what she calls offensive comments, and reached out to Channel 3 on Tuesday with more information.

She says although Puckett is no longer involved in the conversation on Facebook, the comments on social media have only gotten worse.

"I immediately, when I filed my formal complaint, received an email from the police chief that said he took the complaint seriously," said Beth Foster, member of Mercy Junction, "He took the comments seriously, and an investigation was being conducted."

The Chattanooga Police Department is still investigating Officer Puckett for these comments he posted on Facebook.

Chief Fletcher told Channel 3 earlier this month he intends to enforce the city's current social media policy.

"We expect every officer to behave regardless of the medium, in a manner that brings credit to the police department, to their profession and to the city of Chattanooga," Chief Fletcher said.

But Foster said she continued to see offensive comments posted to the Facebook group "Chattanooga News and Review, The Redux." 

"The language in that group got even more dangerous, with basically threats of violence against women."

The Facebook group is no longer visible to the public, but Foster saved many of the online posts.

Foster says one of the commenters is a sergeant with Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

"Those are the people they're going to call who is going to come and help them, help them seek justice, get them out of dangerous situations," Foster said, "And that's just terrifying."

The Hamilton County Sheriff says his office was contacted by e-mail, asking to look into a few comments made by an employee, or employees, on social media.

"That's what the IA will show, are these complaints valid complaints, do I have an employee that stepped over the line with the policy, if so, that's what we will deal with."

Foster did not file a formal complaint with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office but hopes both law enforcement agencies enforce their current social media policies.

"There's a standard there," Foster said, "And even when they're not on the clock people see them as police officers."

As of right now the Hamilton County Sheriff is only aware of one complaint made to his office.

And for the Chattanooga Police Department, the investigation into Officer Puckett is still open.
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