Meeting held over social media post accidentally made to Hadley Police Facebook page

(Western Mass News photo)

A social media post accidentally made on a local police departments page had some residents upset.

Tonight, Hadley's police chief invited them to sit down with him and discuss how they felt.

Chief Michael Mason called a few people in town to a meeting Monday to discuss an accidental social media post.

When it was brought up in a town meeting, it was opened to the public because some people believed it was racially charged.

The post that was made including a meme that read “Two guys get kicked out of Starbucks and everyone freaks out. Two cops were just assassinated and nobody bats an eye.”

Sgt. Ken Hartwright came to the meeting and told the public that he was the one that mistakenly posted the meme to the department's page. He is an administrator.

Cameras were not allowed in the meeting, so that people could feel comfortable to speak about what made them uncomfortable about this post.

Hartwright gave an emotional apology to the 15 Hadley residents who attended, as well as administrators.

Those who were in the meeting commended Hartwright for coming forward to explain and apologize.

Hartwright said it has been the worst week of his life and said he's passionate about law enforcement and focused on the second part of the post, where his fellow officers were killed and more coverage should have memorialized them.

Hartwright has been in law enforcement for 37 years, with 10 of those in Hadley and has a perfect record here.

Other town members said that the first part of the meme was, in fact, insensitive and they are working to try to come up with a way to move forward and create a bias training or something like that.

Mason spoke to Western Mass News about why they decided to open this meeting to the public.

"We’re going to try to learn something from this. We're going to try to handle this in a way that’s different than the way things are normally handed, which is kind of clam up and let it pass, so we're gonna try and meet with anyone from the town who wants to come tonight, express their feelings, and tell us how it made them feel and see if we can rebuild some of the trust we may have broken," Mason explained.

Any disciplinary action against the sergeant is a department matter and has not been decided yet.

One town council member hopes Hartwright finishes his career here in Hadley.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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