Middletown NAACP ‘concerned’ about officer’s social media photos, impact on community

Middletown city leaders address white supremacy accusations against officer

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - The Middletown chapter of the NAACP is calling on city leaders to further investigate one of their veteran police officers and be more transparent after the officer posted photos to social media that are raising controversy.

Some have accused the officer of making a hand symbol that represents white supremacy.

However, city leaders say that after investigating the issue internally, they believe the officer was actually making a gesture that he understood to mean “OK” or “gotcha.”

Nevertheless, in light of the situation, they announced Wednesday the photographs in question on the officer’s personal social media page.

The new training opportunities, including RITE training, had already been added for 2020 by Middletown Police Chief David Birk and were not in response to the social media post concern according to Shelby Quinlivan with the City of Middletown.

That’s not enough, according to the Rev. Dr. Celeste Didlick-Davis, president of the NAACP’s Middletown chapter.

She appeared before Middletown City Council Wednesday and called on them to do more to resolve the issue within the community.

She said she didn’t want to infringe on anyone’s First Amendment rights, but the photos have made several members of the community “very uncomfortable.”

She said she is seeking the officer’s personnel file and his statistics as well as traffic stop statistics for the entire police department for the past couple of months.

She gave council copies of the photos as well as a letter reiterating her concerns.

“We have to have more open conversations, we have to be more transparent, and we really have to get to some better reconciliation about the opposing political points and help the community be more cohesive,” Didlick-Davis said.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click here to report it. Please include title of story.

Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved.