Facebook blocks promotion of Officer of the Year post, claiming it was ‘sensitive social issue’


Facebook blocked the Illinois Association of Chiefs’ request to promote its Officer of the Year post that honored a cop who was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck during a domestic incident before fatally shooting the suspect. 

The stab wounds damaged East Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Bieber’s nerves and hit an artery, ‘causing the officer to bleed profusely’ and fall to his back during the February 2 incident, police said. 

He tried to use his Taser but it was unsuccessful, and the suspect – identified as Joshua Crites, 19 – was on top of him. Bieber shot Crites and ultimately killed him. 

 Officer Bieber was praised by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police for ‘not only for his sacrifice during and after the incident, but for being an outstanding officer serving and protecting the citizens of East Peoria every day.’ 

But Facebook said the post was about a ‘sensitive social issue’ and denied the state police group’s request to promote the post, which can be done for a fee.  

In a statement to the Journal Star, Facebook said: 

‘This ad content has been correctly disapproved for violation of Facebook Advertising Policies and Guidelines. As per policy: Your ad may have been rejected because it mentions politicians or is about sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.’

East Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Bieber was awarded a prestigious state honor but Facebook refused to promote police group’s post about it because it contained ‘sensitive issue.’

Facebook

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Ed Wojcicki

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Ed Wojcicki called Facebook’s decision to refuse to promote the group’s Facebook post honoring Officer Bieber ‘ridiculous’

This is the Facebook post that Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police wanted Facebook to promote

This is the Facebook post that Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police wanted Facebook to promote

The social media giant’s response riled up Illinois police groups, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP), which started an online petition on change.org to overturn Facebook’s decision. 

‘That seemed ridiculous to us,’ ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki said in a statement.

‘The way we see it,’ Wojcicki said, ‘is Facebook thinks it’s wrong to honor a brave police officer who suffered serious wounds while protecting his central Illinois city.

‘How is that remotely political? Facebook must not realize that many police officers endure severe physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis. 

‘Our recognition of Officer Bieber is designed to honor an officer who made a great personal sacrifice and to help Americans understand and appreciate the sacrifices that many officers make. We’d like Facebook to understand that by hearing from supporters of this officer and the thousands of good officers in our ranks.’ 

The Illinois Sheriff’s Association said in a comment on the ILACP’s Facebook post about social media giant’s decision, ‘FB did the same thing to us with our Deputy, Correctional Officer and Telecommunicators of the year back in February. It’s maddening!!”

ILACP started an online petition to overturn Facebook's decision

ILACP started an online petition to overturn Facebook’s decision

Illinois Sheriff's Association responding to ILACP's Facebook post

Illinois Sheriff’s Association responding to ILACP’s Facebook post

In response to the Journal Star’s inquiry, a Facebook statement suggested the police group may have applied for the ad ‘boost’ incorrectly, so the company has ‘reached out directly to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to explain how to run this type of ad.’

Officer Bieber began his career working with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office working as a correctional officer full time in 2007 and then become a part-time police officer for the small, rural community of Hopedale in August of 2008. 

In May 2011, he was hired full time by the city of North Pekin, attended the police academy and worked for North Pekin until he was hired by East Peoria on November 16, 2012.

‘Officer Bieber exemplifies honor, courage, dedication, and humbleness,’ East Peoria Chief Rich Chief Brodrick said. He always has a kind smile and a great sense of humor.’

Wojcicki said of this incident that ‘this is one of those scenarios that can happen to any officer in any part of Illinois on any day.

‘In fact, officers in Illinois face levels of noncompliance on a daily basis and are victims of physical and verbal violence,’ he said. ‘Bieber used his training to attempt less-than-lethal responses such as creating distance and deploying his Taser, but ultimately the situation put Bieber’s life in grave danger.’ 



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