Flomaton police officer resigns
Officer's post on Facebook saying 'put a bullet in their skull for treason' prompts outrage
November 12, 2020
Flomaton Police Capt. Scott Walden resigned his position Friday, a day after he was placed on paid administrative leave for his post of Facebook that generated more than 500 calls to the Flomaton Police Department complaining about the post and wanting him immediately fired.
Walden's Facebook post was in response to a post by Susanne Glass that read "The idiots that voted for Biden hated Trump enough to throw the country away. Thank the lying liberals and democrats news media."
Walden's response read "they need to line up ev1 of them and put a bullet in their skull for treason".
Walden later posted that he felt people were taking his comment out of context and wrote "Well apparently someone, and I know who you are as well as others jumping on the "gonna get them fired" train is circulating a comment I made about TREASON. The comment even says TREASON but someone has run rampant saying I was meaning liberal Democrats. Well #1 I don't care who you vote for, #2 the comment was about treason and what should happen to the ones trying to stir the pot or you ok with someone committing treason but not ok with someone who says they should be shot. This is the world we live in."
Flomaton Police Chief Chance Thompson said he first heard about the post when multiple people began calling the police department Thursday morning and he began getting calls from media outlets.
In a news release Thompson posted on the police department's Facebook page last Thursday he acknowledged the multiple complaints regarding Walden's Facebook post and said he make an effort to call of the callers back.
"Copies of the comments and complaints have been acquired and retained for internal investigations," Thompson's post read. "The outcome of the internal investigation is pending at the time and date of this press release."
"The Flomaton Police Department holds officer's conduct to the highest standard and will continue to do so," Thompson continued. "The Flomaton Police Department treasures the community's trust, and this is achieved through transparency regarding public information."
He later said the telephone calls to the police department continued "non-stop" for three days.
Thompson said he talked with Walden last Thursday and placed him on administrative leave to allow the investigation to look at the entire picture. He said Walden submitted his resignation Friday.
"I hate it, but it's something we don't allow and don't condone," Thompson said. "There's a fine line between First Amendment rights and the effects such comments have on our mission that causes alarm within the community."
During Monday night's town council meeting, Flomaton resident Ted Dean said he was disturbed by Walden's comments and wanted the police department to develop procedures that would include mental evaluations before hiring officers.
"Shooting a Democrat in the head, I'm a Democrat and I'm black," Dean said.
Dean said the town needed an outside system to vet police officers before they were hired, telling the council they weren't smart enough to interview these people.
Chief Thompson said the state now requires physiological examinations for all officers going to the police academy and he felt implementing that program before hiring officers in Flomaton was a good idea.
"If the state is going to require it, we should too," Thompson said.
During Monday night's council meeting, Mayor Dewey Bondurant, Jr., praised the work of Chief Thompson and Assistant Chief Bennie Stokes in handling the situation.
"I applaud their work," Bondurant said. "They handled it with grace, I was proud of them."
He went on to say without the job Chief Thompson did the situation could have been worse.
The mayor also said he received multiple telephone calls last week as the news spread about Walden's comment, noting he received on telephone call from someone in California.
Thompson said he will also implement media awareness and social media awareness for all of the police officers in Flomaton.
"How we're being reflected is not how we are," Thompson told the council.
Councilwoman Lillian Dean thanked Thompson, the mayor and others involved on how the situation was handled.
"Thank you for the swiftness and strong message that was sent," Dean said.
Councilwoman Kay Wagner also thanked everyone involved in handling a "very, very difficult situation" and dealing with it quickly.
"The town handled it well," she said.
Mayor Bondurant thanked Ted Dean for his comments and praised the efforts of all who handled the situation.
"There were two nights when Chief Thompson and I did not sleep," Bondurant said. "We put in a lot of time and thought on how to handle it. I think as long as we continue to do what we do in this town, love each other and get along, we'll be OK."