San Jose police officer on leave for #CopsLivesMatter tweets reinstated
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A San Jose police officer who was placed on leave after his controversial ‘#CopsLivesMatter’ tweets from 2014 was reinstated, SJPD announced on Thursday.
Police on Thursday said an independent arbitrator reinstated Officer Phil White.
The 20-year veteran was fired last fall after he tweeted: "Threaten me or my family and I will use my God given and law appointed right and duty to kill you." The post included the words "#CopsLivesMatter" -- an apparent play on the Black Lives Matter movement.
His controversial tweets were criticized as being against protests of alleged police misconduct in the deaths of unarmed black men.
Acting Police Chief Eddie Garcia says the city and police department disagree with the decision but will honor it.
White had administrative duties before he was fired and upon his return will be assigned administrative duties and will help roll out the department's body-worn cameras.
Police did not say when he will be back to work.
"Pursuant to state law, all police officers who have successfully completed probation are entitled the opportunity to participate in an administrative appeal of any discipline imposed by their employer," Chief Garcia said in a statement.
Another of White's tweets said, "By the way if anyone feels they can't breathe or their lives matter I'll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun," a reference to the chokehold death of Eric Garner who reportedly said, "I can't breathe," as he was being detained by police.
Protesters used that sentence frequently.
Police officials said that the character and excellence of each officer reflects on the department and officials will continue to hold officers to high ethical standards.
SJPD claim to strive for transparency within the department and community.