MONROE (WXYZ) — A Monroe Public Schools board member is under fire for comments he made in response to racial tensions between people of color and law enforcement.
Board member Matthew Bunkelman posted to his Facebook page an NPR article about four San Jose, California officers being placed on leave after their alleged racist social media posts surfaced. The four officers are currently being investigated.
"F- the Thin Blue Line. F- the Police that can't police The Police," the expletive-laden post read. "There are good cops, there are a lot more bad cops than there should be. Wanna be a great cop? Out the f-----g racists, those prone to violence, and those that are on a power trip. It's really that simple."
Monroe Public Schools President Robert Nichols released a statement about Bunkelman's post saying, "It is critical to clarify that Mr. Bunkelman’s personal comments do not represent the Monroe Public Schools Board of Education or the school district."
The school board president added, "The Monroe Public Schools Board of Education supports the long-standing relationship that the district holds with our local law enforcement agencies."
Public comments under the MPS post appeared mostly in favor of the board member, with some questioning Bunkelman's use of language.
One Facebook user wrote, "Fair representation for the school board is essential to its democracy. I also think allot like Mr. Matthew Bunkelman and the school board should be gratified that he is letting his opinions be known in regard to the White Nationalists in police uniform."
Another comment read, "It’s too bad all the board members don’t share his views. He didn’t say all police were bad. I’m sure he wasn’t referring to the school resource officers. He is talking about the reform that needs to happen and the good cops calling out the bad cops."
A comment opposing Bunkelman's post read, "Any single one of you who would support this kind of statement from an elected official, especially a man who oversees our children, are just plain ignorant. If even one child reads that they're going to think it's OK to say F the police and show complete disrespect. There is way more good and honest police officers then there is bad ones. And I'm sick of people blaming all for the actions of a few. Even if racism is a real problem there is no benefit in promoting hate towards Good men and women who've sworn to protect and serve. How much hate do you think these good officers can take? At the end of the day they're people like you and me. And most of them are good people!"
Following the school's response, Bunkelman released this statement to 7 Action News:
In regards to my Facebook post that has been circulating, there is an omitted article from NPR that was linked to provide context. The article detailed 4 officers placed on leave in San Jose, CA. The officers were posting racist and white supremacist messages in a private group. I apologize for any offense that was taken in regards to the language used for the message I was trying to convey. I wish I would have chosen my words more wisely; however, I stand behind my message that the police need to police their ranks in order to clean their house of this scourge. The reform and change must come from within. White Supremacy and Racism have no place in law enforcement. There must be a zero tolerance policy, at all levels, for any and all behavior that relates to these issues. Hopefully a conversation can come from this that will affect change and the ad hominem attacks will cease.