Police officer fired over apparent racist social media post

A part-time police officer in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was terminated Tuesday after an apparent racist social media post involving the officer began circulating online, the mayor of McKeesport said.

The post in question is a photo of Melissa Adamson in her police uniform with a caption that read, "I'm the law today" and ended with a racial slur. The image appeared on social media Tuesday afternoon and was shared hundreds of times.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko addressed the issue on Facebook, writing, in part: "This post displays a degree of conduct and character that is far different from what I would expect from an officer in this city."

As Mayor of the City of McKeesport, I feel compelled to publicly address an issue that has come to my attention via...

Posted by City of McKeesport - Mayor's Office on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Pitcairn Police Department also responded to the post, in which the officer appears to be wearing a Pitcairn police uniform. According to the department's Facebook post, the woman is a former officer of the Pitcairn police force.

"As the picture alone does not constitute misconduct, it is symbolic speech and protected under the First Amendment. However, it is the content of the text in the picture which is unacceptable," the Police Department’s Facebook post read, in part.

There has been a picture circulating around of an ex female employee of the Pitcairn Police Department. As the picture...

Posted by Pitcairn Police Department on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Most McKeesport residents who spoke with WPXI agreed that the woman’s comment should not have been made.

"For a rookie police officer, it's not a smart thing to do," Kateri Kondrich said.

However, one woman said the slang is just how some people talk, and she took no offense to the officer’s photo or caption.

Pitcairn Police Chief Scott Farally told WPXI on Wednesday that Adamson apologized to him Tuesday night, admitting that she was on duty when she took the selfie.

"To my knowledge, it was taken while she was on duty inside one of the patrol cars," Farally said. "I am actually saddened on that. We have more integrity than that in this department."

Farally said Adamson resigned last week before the post surfaced on Facebook to take a job as a Mckeesport police officer, where she was still undergoing training.

WPXI learned Wednesday that Adamson resigned Tuesday night from the Versailles Police Department, where she had worked part-time for two months. Farally said he never received a complaint about Adamson during her nine months working in Pitcairn.

"I think it was just a bad choice by a new officer," he said.