The photo above showing seven young men with guns holding what seems to be a bullet-riddled T-shirt depicting President Barack Obama was, until recently, up on the Facebook page for Sergeant Pat Shearer of the Peoria Police Department.
The photo is captioned, "Another trip to the ranch," and features the comments, "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta," and, "They look like Gangsta's huh?"
Not sure how "gangsta" it is to shoot-up a pic of the President of the United States, but I'm certain it's a constitutionally-protected activity. Heck, here in Arizona, I'm surprised public schools don't have target practice at Obama cut-outs during lunch break.
Someone recently Tweeted the photo (sans link) in the wake of Governor Jan Brewer's disrespectful finger-wave at the Prez, I suppose in a commentary on what we're teaching the youngsters here in Sand Land.
Though definitely not PC, there may be a reasonable explanation for the photo.
I called Sergeant Shearer and have only gotten his voice mail, so far. In the interim, he seems to have removed the Obama-shoot-em-up photo from his Facebook site.
He's also moved things around a bit on his page. Getting calls from the press sometimes has that effect. I'm not going to link to it here, because there are snapshots of his grandkid all over it.
Jay Davies in the Peoria Police Department's Media Relations Office says he's received another media inquiry, and has seen the photo in question. He said he has not spoken to Shearer about the matter.
Asked if such a photo might be out-of-policy for Peoria cops, Davies said he was checking.
"We do have a social media policy," he told me. "We're looking into it to see how that policy applies."
More if and when I get it.
UPDATE 5:19 PM: Davies just got back to me, saying that this issue is now "the subject of an administrative investigation," and that he can make no further comment until the investigation is completed.
UPDATE 5:41 PM: The New York Times reports that the Secret Service is looking into the Obama T-shirt with bullet holes in it.
Which only goes to show you that Facebook is not your friend, unless you're a member of the media...
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UPDATE 1/27/12: ABC 15 scored a brief interview with Sergeant Shearer at his home, which you can watch, here.
"I don't think that the shooting of that T-shirt is that big of a deal," said Shearer, who admitted to an ABC15 reporter that he snapped the photo. "It was more of a political statement."
He added, "It's not like they were going to go out and shoot the president."
Shearer also told ABC 15 that "he stands by President Barack Obama and would sacrifice his own life for the President's."