St. Louis, MO – A program director of a non-profit organization, who works with citizens on policing issues in the St. Louis area, Twitter-shamed voters who approved a tax increase that would go to pay police and firefighters.
Mia Salamone, who joined the non-profit Focus St. Louis as program director in May of 2017, implied first responders don’t keep the community safe, and called police “killer cops” in her tweet.
After St. Louis voters approved the sales tax hike, Salamone posted on Twitter “shame on everyone who voted to pass #PropP in STL. what our city needs is $$ towards social services & edu – things that actually keep our community safe. not rewarding killer cops,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
However, Salamone mistakenly posted her tweet on the account of the University of Missouri-St. Louis Center for Ethics in Public Life.
Salamone said she tweeted thinking she was on her own personal Twitter account, the newspaper reported.
“It was [a] totally personal” post, Salamone said.
“I was working with Wally [Siewert] for the UMSL center, helping him with a live-tweet event, and I was still signed on to that Twitter account,” she said.
“Once I realized I had posted [the statement] to that account, I took it down and transferred it to my personal account,” Salamone said.
The Center for Ethics in Public Life tweeted that Salamone’s post “in no way reflected the opinions of UMSL or Dr. Wally Siewert who manages this account.”
Both Salamone and Siewert said that the opinion Salamone expressed did not reflect the opinion or policies of UMSL or Focus St. Louis.
“I would strongly object to the language used in that [tweet], especially shaming voters and using the phrase ‘killer cops.’ That is not me; I would never do that,” Siewert said.
Yemi Akande-Bartsch, head of Focus St. Louis, issued an apology for the tweet.
“The sentiments expressed in the tweet were personal in nature and do not reflect the views of … Focus St. Louis,” she said in a statement.
Akande-Bartsch’s said her organization is nonpartisan and “appropriate measures will be taken to ensure this type of error does not occur again.”
The Post-Dispatch reported that Salamone said the post accurately reflects her personal opinion about the sales tax issue, and St. Louis police, and the post still remains on her Twitter account.
Focus St. Louis puts on community programs that discuss policing issues. On its non-profit 990 form it files with the government, Focus St. Louis described itself as a “neutral convener and facilitator” in regards to citizen engagement.
They were selected by the city of Ferguson to implement findings from Gov. Jay Nixon’s 16-member commission on the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown. The commission released a 198-page report with 47 recommendations, and the commission selected Focus St. Louis to “pursue their recommendations,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
In 2016, Focus St. Louis ran at least two community forums on aspects of policing.
Focus St. Louis also put on a community event about the history of the St. Louis Police Department. And in 2012, Focus St. Louis led a discussion in 2012 over who should control the St. Louis Police Department when a “Local Control Initiative” was on the ballot.