Regina police pull Facebook page following dog-shooting outrage
The Regina police service has temporarily pulled its main Facebook page because it's getting too many abusive, profane and hateful comments.
On Tuesday, the police service's secondary Facebook page was available, but it wasn't enabled for comments.
Some particularly angry comments came in the wake of a weekend dog-shooting incident.
A seven-year-old pit bull, named Ben, was shot by police on Saturday. Police said the dog was shot because it attacked a police dog — the officer feared for his safety and that of another officer.
The dog's owner, Peter Cote, said he's upset because neither of the officers nor the police dog were hurt.
"All I know is what they done is wrong and I can't let it rest," Cote said. "Someone don't have the right to come in your yard and murder a family member."
Police said they are reviewing the incident.
Facebook message from RPS:
(posted Monday before Facebook page removed)
We have temporarily disabled public posting on our wall at this time.
We did this because the nature of the discussion was largely disrespectful and despite requests, continued to contain profanity and hate speech, as well as posts inciting violence.
These posts were aimed at police, at the original poster, and at those sharing their opinions respectfully, [whether] they agreed with RPS actions or not.
As stated, we do not monitor this page 24/7 and as such we were unable to monitor this page and ensure that it's a page safe for our diverse community of visitors.
We open this page up to comments, concerns and questions with the understanding that interactions will be respectful.
We support your right to express opinions, even dissenting ones.
We require that to be done without profanity, hate speech, or posts inciting violence. In the future please ensure your comments, opinions, and concerns are expressed in a manner safe for all users.
Facebook outrage spurs call for change
Cote wasn't the only one upset with police. Following the incident, the Regina Police Facebook page received a number of complaints. There have also been threats to the officers involved.
And the outrage spilled over onto the police service's Facebook page.
The union that represents police officers in Regina held a press conference Monday saying it hoped the police service would change its Facebook policy.
Evan Bray, president of Regina Police Association, said he is concerned because people were using Facebook to make slanderous or threatening remarks about police officers.
"What we're concerned about is comments that say, 'The only good police officer is a dead police officer,'" Bray said. "Really? Is that something anyone thinks a police service should have on its Facebook page?"
Bray said moderating all comments could be a solution.
"I believe it's the minority out there that makes these comments," Bray said. "They can make these comments on their own forum and with their own free speech. I just don't believe the police should over the platform for them to do it."
The Regina Police Service said Monday it will limit the number of times one person can post on its Facebook page. That way, it said, it can better monitor the posts.
Later in the day, the main Facebook page disappeared altogether. A note posted before that happened said: "We support your right to express opinions, even dissenting ones. We require that to be done without profanity, hate speech, or posts inciting violence. In the future please ensure your comments, opinions, and concerns are expressed in a manner safe for all users."