Mar 28, 2012 6:24 AM by AP

New Orleans officer resigns after posting comments

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans police officer resigned Tuesday, a day after being suspended for a comment he posted on a local TV station website about the shooting of Trayvon Martin in which he suggested the Florida teen died like a "thug."

Jason Giroir used his full name and identified himself as a New Orleans Police Department employee when he wrote, "Act like a thug die like one!" in response to a WWL-TV article on a rally supporting Martin, who was killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Giroir also lashed out at another commenter who criticized his post, telling him to "come on down to our town with a 'Hoodie' and you can join Martin in HELL and talk about your racist stories!"

Martin was shot Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman while visting a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman, 28, who says he shot Martin in self-defense, has not been arrested. Because Martin was black and Zimmerman has a white father and Hispanic mother, the case has become a rallying point for civil rights leaders and spawned protests around the country.

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas suspended Giroir indefinitely without pay on Monday after learning of the posts. On Tuesday, Giroir resigned after Public Integrity Bureau Chief Arlinda Westbrook told Giroir that a pre-termination hearing would be held.

"From the moment I was informed yesterday afternoon that Jason Giroir admitted ... he did write the offensive comments on the news station's website, I immediately questioned his abilities to continue as a New Orleans police officer," Serpas said. "My responsibility to the people of New Orleans, as well as to the professional officers on this police force, demanded I take swift action."

He said he accepted Giroir's resignation, saying it was in the "best interest" of the department and the city.

The department has a long-standing policy barring employees from posting anything on the Internet that violates laws or "embarrasses, humiliates, discredits, or harms the operation and reputation of the police department."

Giroir was already under investigation for his role in a March 1 shooting that killed a 20-year-old man, Justin Sipp, and left two fellow officers wounded. Serpas, who has defended his officers' actions, said Sipp had fired at the officers 14 times as he exited a vehicle stopped by Giroir, who had summoned backup officers.

Giroir isn't the first local law enforcement official to get in trouble for internet postings on news stories. Federal prosecutor Sal Perricone resigned last week from U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office after acknowledging he anonymously posted comments on a local newspaper website about judges, politicians and cases he had worked on.


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