Facebook has about 1.39 billion monthly active users, more than 1.5 million of whom are from Alabama. The social network may seem like a vast, crowded place, but even though more than 34% of the state has a Facebook profile, what you post can and will more than likely be heard, especially if your posts could be construed as offensive, and if you’re in the public eye — as two Alabama policemen recently found out.
On June 19, two police lieutenants in Anniston, Alabama were forced to leave their positions. Two days earlier, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed in a blog post that the two officers were part of the League of the South, a racist, “Southern independence” organization. Officials announced in a press conference that Wayne Brown would retire, while Josh Doggrell was fired.
The SPLC’s blog, “Hatewatch,” posted a video of Doggrell speaking at a 2013 conference for the group, in which he drops Brown’s name, talks about his ardor for the group, and also about kinism, which is a racist ideology calling for a social order based upon race, religion, and gender.
When the SPLC told city officials of Doggrell’s affiliation with the League, it was treated with apparent shrugs. According to Doggrell, his bosses knew of his involvement, and had even hinted that they harbored sympathies. The New York Daily News also reported that Doggrell and Police Chief Shane Denman appeared to be friends on Facebook, which meant that it wouldn’t have been hard for him to have noticed all of the Confederate flags, League symbols, and homophobic rants on his page.
Doggrell, who had been with the police department for nine years, said he’d choose the League over his career in law enforcement if it came down to it.
Brown, on the other hand, had been with the police department for 21 years. He had only attended two of the League’s meetings, and quit. City Manager Brian Johnson told the Anniston Star that Brown left the League, because “it was too radical for him.”