from the Facebroke dept
There's nothing quite like watching a professional with twenty years of experience burn it all to the ground in the space of a few hours. Officer Daniel Wolff of the Detroit PD -- spending some time at home recovering from a work-related injury -- took issue with Motor City Muckraker's story highlighting the number of police officers who don't live in the communities they serve.
He handled it badly. Here's Muckraker's Steve Neavling's coverage of the Facebook meltdown in which the journalist was personally attacked by the off-duty officer.
A Detroit cop on Tuesday called city residents “garbage” and bragged that he used to “hit them with “handcuffs in the head” and “smack” children in the face.
Officer Daniel Wolff was responding on Facebook to a Motor City Muckraker story about an increasing number of Detroit police choosing to live outside the city.
Wolff, who works in the second precinct and lives in the suburbs, said he would never live in the city he serves because it is “just a nasty place.”
“Getting rid of residency was the best thing that ever happened to the Detroit Police!!!!! We have to police the garbage but you can’t make us live in the garbage.”
Not only did Officer Wolff have a problem with being expected to "live in the garbage," but he felt the last few decades of technological advancement had made it much more difficult to police the streets the way Wolff would prefer to.
Wolff bemoaned cell phone cameras, saying, “You can’t walk up to a kid or asshole and smack him in the face like we did.”
And he had a few words for Neavling as well, when informed the Facebook conversation was being reported to his department. It involved Wolff's apparent desire to commit (career) suicide by cop, with the twist being that he was both ends of the equation.
When I told him that Internal Affairs was investigating, Wolff responded, “Please do. I’ve been trying to get fired for years you cunt. Help me you ass.”
The department received Wolff's alleged comments from the Muckraker the day they were posted, according to Director Michael Woody of the public information office.
"We have forwarded them to our internal affairs for a full investigation," Woody said. "This is not representative of the vast majority of our officers in this department, who work hard every day to build relationships with members of our community."
Officer Wolff was apparently very thorough in his Facebook slating of the general public. According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, there were several other allegedly "sexist" and "racist" comments delivered by the cop before he decided to memory hole his Facebook page.
[W]e’re going to move forward with the investigation and we should be at a finding fairly quickly," [Craig] said. "If this individual feels that strongly about working in the City of Detroit and has that type of attitude, we certainly don’t want him here."
Well, that would appear to align with Wolff's stated desire to be fired. With twenty years on the force, Wolff likely has a pension locked up and would probably be given the option to resign, which means taxpayers will continue paying a former public servant that has zero respect for them for the next several years.
As for the article that started it all, it simply makes the same point that could be made in nearly any major city: it's tougher to build relationships with the communities you serve while living as far away as you can from them. It's a problem everywhere and frankly, there's not much to be done about it. Coaxing, pleading, offering housing, etc. are about the limit of what city governments can do to help close this gap between the police and the policed. Anything else places tremendous restrictions on officers' freedoms. True, communities may be better served by officers with closer ties to the people they police, but mandating this would create larger rifts by adding a whole bunch of resentment and anger to the mix. In other words, the public would get Officer Wolff, who somehow maintains this level of anger and resentment despite living miles away from the neighborhood he works in.