Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police reform and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
Savannah Police Department fired Officer Edwin Myrick after the community slammed him and called him a racist following his controversial Facebook post. The department stated that Myrick had violated the department’s code of ethics and internet usage directives
Myrick spoke to News 3 about the posts, stating that it was not referring to race, but were just things about him. He maintained that he did not author the words.
“For someone to just assume what I am feeling inside my heart as racism because I am a white police officer is frankly very disappointing,” he said, referring to the criticisms he received from activists.
According to an internal administrative investigation report, Police Chief Roy Minter got wind of the post after a member of the community emailed a screenshot of the post to him and asked if Myrick was an officer in the department.
“If you take [an] employee and you just terminate them without having some kind of dialogue of intent, then you’re really doing an injustice to the city of Savannah and you are unbelievably destroying the morale of the police department,” Myrick stated.
The report had a transcript of an interview with Myrick, in which he was given the opportunity to explain his post.
Sgt. Richard Wiggins provided a summary of the transcript: “APO Myrick stated when he read the post, it did not mean much other than that the post was talking about “himself” in some ways. APO Myrick stated that prior to SPD, he was the Director of Emergency Management for Effingham County. When that position was dissolved, he had to go on government assistance. APO Myrick stated he felt privileged that he was able to take care of his family by reaching out to a resource that was available.”
Myrick told News 3 that he had copied and pasted the post.
According to Chief Minter, Myrick violated the department’s policy stating that officers should treat others with respect. The rule states: “no employee will speak disrespectfully of any…. race.”
Myrick also violated the department’s internet usage rule which states: “employees… are prohibited from using the internet to harass, annoy, belittle or oppress any other person.”
WSAV Crime Expert and former SPD Major Gerry Long told News 3: “When you’re in uniform, you’re representing the department. Even in an off-duty capacity, when you share something that is certainly adverse, then you can be held responsible for that.”
She added: “Even though it is your personal profile, you represent the department and people know who you are.”
However, Myrick stated that his post was misconstrued because of the country’s growing hatred towards police officers and the community’s division.
“I did not see race at all, but I did not consider for a moment how people who had bad experiences would perceive the story line itself and for that, I am at fault,” he said.