- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Missouri police union is under fire for posting a Facebook message on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death that commemorated the former Ferguson police officer who killed him.

The Columbia Police Officers Association’s (CPOA) Facebook post Sunday commemorating “Darren Wilson Day” called him “an innocent, but persecuted, officer,” The Columbia Daily Tribune first reported.

Mr. Wilson, who is white, resigned last fall after a grand jury declined to indict him in the death of 18-year-old Brown, who was black. The CPOA explained Sunday that its support for the former officer had nothing to do with race.

However, the association took the post down early Monday afternoon, CPOA.FOP26/posts/1178690892147544” target=”_blank”>citing confusion over its intent, The Tribune reported.

“The CPOA’s post on Sunday regarding Darren Wilson was interpreted in a manner that was not the intended message,” the union said Monday. “In an effort to resolve the confusion, the CPOA wants to say this plainly: CPOA supports Officer Darren Wilson and all law enforcement officers who endure similar situations.”

About 20 protesters, including City Manager Mike Matthes and police Chief Ken Burton, gathered Monday in front of the Columbia Police Department headquarters, The Tribune reported.

“I found the post offensive, and I thought I needed to stand with the community and say what the police department thinks about it,” Chief Burton said at the protest, The Tribune reported. “It was insensitive at best, and provocative at worst.”

Mayor Bob McDavid called the post “insensitive and divisive” in his own Facebook post.

“This is not the first time that CPOA has reflected poorly on the brave and dedicated men and women of the Columbia Police Department,” he wrote.

The Columbia Police Department declared in a statement that it is “a separate entity from CPOA and does not in any way condone the use of social media, or any other medium, to promote divisive messages in our community.”

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