South Boston, VA – A South Boston police corporal resigned from the force on Tuesday morning after being suspended over a social media post he made expressing support for Kyle Rittenhouse.
South Boston Police Department (SBPD) Corporal Jerome George was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 31, after the department received complaints about social media posts he allegedly made under the alias of “John Conner,” The Gazette-Virginian reported.
In a post made on Aug. 27, the corporal defended 17-year-old Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two rioters and wounded a third after being chased by a group of antifa in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“A hero is what he is, not a murderer,” the post read, referring to Rittenhouse. “He’s the one person I would want as my back up Officer.”
Cpl. George also allegedly shared a Washington Post article on Aug. 26 about Detroit police driving through a group of rioters, WSET reported.
“Much Respect for the Police, when running over the parasites not letting them through,” the post read. “I [pray] that other agencies throughout the U.S. do the same thing. Hopefully someone will get the message.”
Another post expressed support for the Kenosha officers who shot wanted fugitive Jacob Blake after he fought with police while armed with a knife.
“Good job Officers,” the post read, according to The Gazette-Virginian. “No cop wants to shoot anyone, but I hope they use this video as a training video and show the heroic act shown by these Police Officers.”
Several members of the Halifax South Boston Unity Project took screenshots of the posts and included them with their complaints to the SBPD, The Gazette-Virginian reported.
The Halifax South Boston Unity Project said it was “disappointed” by the “gross mentality towards minorities” they claimed the posts conveyed.
The group also blasted the police department for not knowing about the issue prior to their complaints.
The SBPD confirmed in a press release on Monday that it is looking into the social media account of “John Conner,” The Gazette-Virginian reported.
“These posts have caused great concern for both the department and members of the community that we serve,” the department said. “The South Boston Police Department has taken swift action regarding these posts. This is a personnel matter that is being handled by the agency.”
Cpl. George was placed on administrative leave later that day pending the outcome of an internal investigation, SBPD Lieutenant Randy Redd told The Gazette-Virginian.
He resigned from the force effective immediately on Tuesday morning, South Boston Town Manager Tom Rabb told the paper.
Cpl. George served the SBPD for over eight years, and has been a law enforcement officer for nearly 26 years, the South Boston News & Herald reported.
The 54-year-old former corporal is also a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.
Rabb said he does not know why the Cpl. George made the social media comments, WSET reported.
“Probably him speaking his first amendment rights. You know he’s concerned with what’s going on and all the defunding the police and everything,” Rabb said. “We do not condone Facebook posts that are anywhere political or anything.”
Cpl. George confirmed on Sunday that he was the one who made the comments posted on the “John Conner” Facebook account, the South Boston News & Herald reported.
“My wording may have been a little harsh, but when I see scenes of 50 to 100 people surrounding a police vehicle, rocking the vehicle, not letting them through, threatening police — they’re not good people because good people do not do that sort of thing,” he told the paper.
The corporal confirmed during his interview with the South Boston News & Herald on Sunday that he would be retiring.
“I can tell you right now, I no longer want to be a police officer,” he said. “I honestly don’t know how anybody these days wants to be a police officer…[their] hands are tied.”
Cpl. George also expressed frustration over the widespread looting and rioting that has destroyed many businesses throughout the U.S.
“It has to do with individuals who are deliberately breaking the law, hurting people’s businesses, injuring other folks,” he told the South Boston News & Herald. “That’s got to stop. They need to let police do their jobs. That’s all I’m saying.”
Cpl. George said he filed his retirement paperwork on Monday.
“I’m going to sell my house, and I’m going to move away. I’m dead set on that. I’m going to be gone so I don’t have to worry about nobody here, and nobody has to worry about me,” he told the South Boston News & Herald. “I was happy when I graduated from the academy and could put my uniform on, and I’ll be happy when I retire and I can take it off.”
The Unity Project said it was glad to learn that Cpl. George is no longer a member of SBPD.
“We are pleased that when called out, the administration took swift action to remove Mr. George from his position of authority,” the Unity Project said in a statement to The Gazette-Virginian. “We hope that policies regarding social media will be thoroughly reviewed and that bias training will be imposed for the entire department.”
The SBPD said on Monday that it plans to “move forward from this incident in a positive manner” that will “build the bond” between citizens and police.
“The South Boston Police Department works hard to ensure that it maintains a positive working relationship with the community in which we serve and will continue to do so,” the department said.