IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) _ An Iowa state crime laboratory analyst has been terminated after posting a rant on Facebook that said she no longer feels safe around Black people, her agency said Wednesday.
Amy Pollpeter, a 10-year employee with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, lashed out at the Black Lives Matter movement _ and African-Americans in general _ on her Facebook page July 8, one day after a Black man shot and killed five officers during a Dallas protest against police brutality. She said the killer was “ONE OF THEM” and that anyone who supported the movement was endorsing the deaths of innocent officers.
“It’s interesting _ until a few years ago, I never really saw the color of a person’s skin. They were all just people to me. But BECAUSE OF BLACKS – I now do notice the color of skin – and frankly, I no longer feel safe around them,” read the post, first reported by the Des Moines Register.
Pollpeter wrote that Blacks have created a more racist environment by seeking “special treatment, special rights, and to be above the law – they want superiority.”
“So yes, if I’m on a sidewalk and you are Black, I will now move to the other side of the street and will be watching for whether you have a gun. No, I won’t shoot you, but I won’t trust you either,” she wrote. She added that her view was “purely because there aren’t a bunch of White people running around (instead of working) rioting, looting stores, and shooting cops. The hatred that Blacks are experiencing – they have brought on themselves.”
Pollpeter worked in the DNA section at the state crime lab in Ankeny, where she was a forensic biologist. She analyzed crime scene evidence and testified on behalf of the prosecution at some high-profile trials.
The public safety agency said she was placed on administrative leave July 12 and her employment ended Tuesday “in connection with public comments made on a social media site.” The department cited its social media policy, which warns employees that any biased posts could be used to impeach their credibility when they testify in court.
Pollpeter confirmed in an email Wednesday that she authored the post, which was removed two weeks ago at the department’s request.
“However, it was supposed to be posted only to friends and I do not know how the security setting for that post was changed to public,” she wrote in a statement.
She said she disagreed with her firing, calling it possible retaliation for a complaint she filed against a lab supervisor, and added that she is considering legal action.
The department, which includes the Iowa State Patrol and the Division of Criminal Investigation, is overwhelmingly white; an assessment report last year found that 98 percent of its 615 sworn officers were caucasians. But the report also found “no issues regarding biased policing,” noting the agency had received few complaints about profiling.
State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, a Democrat who has joined Black Lives Matter protests, said he hoped Pollpeter’s case would prompt a deeper discussion about race and policing.
“I hope they’re not letting her go because of the political climate. I think this is something that we also can use for an educational moment,” he said. “If you have some police officers that feel that way, then let’s address that. This gives us a chance to eradicate that mindset.”