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Tahlequah Police Detective On Paid-Leave For Social Media Post, says police chief

Posted at 10:53 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 15:45:04-05

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — New details about the Tahlequah police detective under question after a social media post.

On Monday, a Tahlequah police detective was under investigation for a post that seemed to be aimed at the LGBTQ community.

Comments on the post also implied that members of the community are not normal. The detective also used quotations around the word victim.

The city, police and LGBTQ community in Tahlequah say they are very upset with the post and the comments that were made with it. The LGBTQ community says having someone in law enforcement making these comments about them makes them feel unsafe.

“We have such a difficult time getting our LGBTQ victims to come out as victims of sexual assault or harassment or anything for that matter," said Carden Crow, president of the Tahlequah chapter of Oklahoman's for Equality. "And so, for a police detective here in our town to say that sort of thing underneath that feed along with that picture, it did a lot of harm, it’s going to do a lot of harm if it stays out there.”

On Monday afternoon, the city and the police department were alerted to the Facebook post. They immediately started making calls and looking into it. TPD and the city both hope this incident will result in a more positive outcome for everyone.

“Moving forward, we’re going to be positive as a department and we’re going to handle this with transparency, with openness with honesty," said Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King. "And this is a serious allegation and it’s a serious thing and it will be taken seriously.”

“So, we need to reach out to anybody that we’re hurting," said Tahlequah Mayor Sue Catron. "But this particular group of people should feel safe and comfortable and know that they can rely on our law enforcement to be there when they need them.”

Starting Tuesday, the Tahlequah Police Department says Detective Jeff Haney, who has been with the department for 24 years, has been placed on paid-leave.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King says he has been regularly speaking with the person who made the complaint and the investigation should last about a week.

Chief King says their social media policy refers to department accounts; however, the city social media policy does cover professional and personal accounts.

Once the internal investigation is complete, Chief King will make a recommendation to the City Council which will then make the final decision on the detective’s punishment.

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