TRACY, Calif. (KTXL) — An internal affairs investigator with the Tracy Police Department was placed on leave after posting a threatening comment on Facebook about writer and social justice activist Shaun King.
The comment has led to investigations by the FBI and police departments across California.
In the podcast “The Breakdown” King said he was alerted to death threats made in a private Facebook group for California law enforcement officers last week.
“We’re going to push forward,” King said. “I’m doing all right, family’s doing all right. We’re safe right now.”
King wrote an article about the threats and released screenshots from a thread he said was about killing him.
“I got a text and a phone call saying that someone saw a very detailed thread in a private law enforcement group on Facebook,” King explained on “The Breakdown.”
One person wrote, “Shaun King needs to be put down.” Another commented, “Need a sniper.”
A man named Billy Dishman posted, “Let’s get it going….I’m in.”
According to Dishman’s LinkedIn profile, he was a professional standards officer at the Tracy Police Department.
“Because we have an open, ongoing investigation, I prefer not to disclose the member’s name,” said Tracy Police Chief Sekou Millington. “But I can confirm he was a part-time employee working as a professional standards officer.”
Chief Millington said the employee was not a sworn officer but has since been relieved from his duties.
“We stand by our values of service, integrity and excellence and that doesn’t fit the model,” Millington told FOX40. “It troubled me.”
Millington said there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by an outside investigator and told FOX40 he is in the process of reviewing every case the employee worked on.
“We hire people, we vet them and things do happen, but I think it matters how we react to that. We’re a learning organization,” the chief said. “We’re always trying to do better. We’ll do better from this, we’ll learn, we’ll improve from this.”
The FBI is also investigating after other comments were linked to retired Long Beach and Los Angeles Police Department officers.
“This is broader than the Tracy Police Department,” Millington explained. “It spans to the East Coast and down to Southern California. So, the FBI actually has three different branches that are working sort of parallel to our internal investigation.”
King said he lacks the confidence in law enforcement to handle the threats. He’s now working with an attorney to come up with a legal strategy to hold all who made death threats accountable.
“We’re going to push this to the full extent of the law,” King said.
The employee’s status with the department is pending an investigation.
The Tracy police chief is scheduled to join other community leaders Tuesday night at 6 in a virtual town hall to talk about racial injustice in policing and youth. It can be accessed by clicking or tapping here and entering event number 126 367 7160, with password “tracy.”