HOUSTON – A Houston police sergeant accused of writing a social media post with “racial overtones” retired an hour before his scheduled disciplinary hearing Monday, according to the Houston Police Department.
Sgt. Robert Clasen was relieved of duty Friday after the post in question came to light. In the long Facebook post, which has since been deleted, Clasen wrote that he didn’t think the black community needed “police reform, social programs or more money.” He also wrote his “solutions” in a list of eight bullet points, seemingly giving advice to black people on how to conduct themselves.
“On Friday June 12, 2020, in the early evening hours, the Houston Police Department learned of a Facebook post with offensive racial overtones by Sergeant Robert Clasen,” HPD wrote. “An internal affairs investigation was initiated and Sergeant Clasen was immediately relieved of duty.”
Police said Clasen was served with a “Notice of Disciplinary Review Hearing” that was scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday with Chief Art Acevedo and other HPD leaders.
However, an hour before the hearing Monday, Clasen submitted his letter of retirement, effective immediately.
UPDATE: Statement on Investigation of former HPD Sergeant's Social Media Post. pic.twitter.com/pp8Xerv4Lt— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) June 15, 2020
“HPD holds its officers to the highest standards of conduct, including the use of social media, and is committed to investigating all reports of violations of our social media policy,” HPD officials wrote in a statement.
Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officer’s Union, said Friday he was made aware of the social media post and was disgusted. Gamaldi said he is confident the department will take action and that the officer who made the post does not represent Houston police officers.
“This is not who we are as Houston Police Officers,” he wrote.
I am aware of a post circulating that is reported to come from one of our officers. It is is vile, it is is disgusting, I know it is under investigation but I am confident the @houstonpolice department will act swiftly. This is not who we are as Houston Police Officers.— Joe Gamaldi (@JoeGamaldi) June 13, 2020