BYHALIA, Miss. — A social media post about Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris has landed a Byhalia Police officer in trouble and has the NAACP speaking out. Those speaking out say it points to a bigger problem.
The post about Harris read, “she will be an inspiration to young girls by showing if your sleep with the right powerfully connected men then you too can play second fiddle to a man with dementia. It’s basically a Cinderella story.”
“Are you saying that all females who elevate in their careers can only get there by sleeping around? Surely if it had been a man and that remark was out there it would not be posted,” said Marshall County prosecutor Shirley Byers.
The post was made by Byhalia Police officer David Pannell.
“I was like wow. He is a police officer posting something like this. We all have our First Amendment Rights. But in some case, you just don’t need to use it,” Byers said. “Especially because he is a law enforcement officer, and in my opinion, it’s just conduct unbecoming of a law enforcement officer.”
Byers says the post is problematic in many ways.
“It is sexist. It’s racist, and I am even offended about the comment about dementia because Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death in American now,” Byers said.
Byers immediately reached out to Byhalia leaders.
“I know the mayor there and the police chief. I called them and asked them if they had seen the post,” Byers said.
She wasn’t the only one who saw the post and couldn’t believe it. We contacted the Byhalia Police chief, who told us he started an investigation as soon as he became aware of the incident and took action.
“Appropriate disciplinary action was handled internally within the department. I can tell you that much,” said Byhalia Police Chief Ben Moore.
He wouldn’t say exactly what type of discipline the officer received. But he said it was appropriate for violating social media policy, and the post has been removed.
“Anything that can affect the department in a negative way like that obviously is not gonna be allowed to be posted with an employee here,” Moore said.
But the local NAACP wants strong action and plans go before the Board of Alderman Tuesday.
“As of today, our position is that we will ask for the immediate resignation of the officer. If not the Mayor and Board should terminate him,” said Marshall County NAACP president Rodney Lowe.
He says the local NAACP will seek public input but is taking a strong stand because of past problems with the department.
“We think that is conduct unbecoming an officer and something drastic needs to happen for that,” Lowe said.
We reached out to the mayor’s office but did not get a response.