Which Pittsburgh-area cops got caught in hate speech exposé? Officers left racist and transphobic Facebook posts
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: Several current and retired police officers in the Pittsburgh area are a part of a private Facebook group that has been caught posting hate-filled content. Called the "Pittsburgh Area Police Breakroom", the private group, saw several posts from officers criticizing others within the profession who chose to march with Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters.
In addition to that, BLM protesters were also called "terrorists" or "thugs". Others made transphobic comments and bullied those who supported anti-police brutality protesters. The group's description reads that it is a place where members can "decompress, rant" and "share ideas".
The group's Facebook page was discovered by journalists from the Associated Press who gained access to the group and revealed the hostility and hate-filled messages posted by those serving as police officers, both current and ex-cops.
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According to the latest report, the 2,000 people-strong Facebook group contains around a dozen current and retired police chiefs, predominantly from Allegheny County, as well as a councilman and at least one judge. The AP report specifically mentions some officials who have made some quite damaging remarks.
While the group appears to have been deleted after AP's expose and after the publication directly reached out to the police departments involved for their comments, the damage is long done.
Corporal Tim Huschak
The AP report reveals one particular incident involving Corporal Tim Huschak from the Borough of Lincoln Police Department. Captioning the post, "Many negative posts on police. And we should trust her with our lives???", Huschak shared a screenshot of a 911 dispatcher's Facebook post, in which she said the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ phrase did not hold the same meaning as 'Black Lives Matter'. According to the report, the post indicated that being a police officer is a choice, unlike a person’s racial identity.
The post also received a fair amount of response - inundated with comments from officers who suggested they should all call her boss and demand that she be fired.
Lincoln Borough Police Chief Richard Bosco said he had been made aware of Huschak’s post but has also been told not to comment in the media. "He understood the concerns and he deleted the post. There is and there needs to be a higher professional standard for police, especially when it comes to social media," he told the publication. The chief added that Huschak wasn’t aware things had "gotten out of hand" in the comments section.
Another cop whose name has been doing the rounds is Tommy Trieu from West Mifflin Borough Police Department, who was one of two officers seen restraining a 15-year-old Black girl in a viral video after a fight on a school bus.
One comment made by Trieu about the 911 dispatcher's Facebook post was highlighted in the AP expose. He wrote, "Multiple officers should call and report it. Remember NO JUSTICE NO PEACE LOL." In addition to that, when referring to former Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine, he made several transphobic comments, purposely referring to her as ‘he,’ ‘it,’ or even ‘freak.’
Despite his name now being public knowledge, Trieu has reportedly not backed down from his own comments. He reportedly went on to explain that if members of the public have the right to complain about officers, they also have the right to complain if they have concerns over their safety.
Police Chief Lou McQuillan
In June 2017, Mount Pleasant Township Police Chief Lou McQuillan, who was listed as one of the Facebook group’s four administrators, shared an article about a civil settlement in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by police officers. McQuillan wrote alongside the article regarding the amount, "future earnings? lol What about Ofc Wilson? What about his lost earnings? Joke."
When asked for an interview by AP, McQuillan refused. He instead communicated by releasing a statement, saying, "Of course, I regret the loss of any life. My comments and posts from four years ago were meant to support law enforcement and police officers everywhere. And I believe in law and order."