by William Moultrie
Columbia – Acting quickly on the heels of Tuesday’s Facebook incident involving two Republican county executives, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has formed a new task force to investigate what public officials may or may not be “liking” on Facebook or re-Tweeting on Twitter.
“I know this may sound trivial to some of you,” said Lt. Frank Horrigan of SLED, “but this is a serious matter. I for one, am certainly interested to know if anyone else of note ‘likes’ the ‘When you should shoot a cop‘ article that Mr. Mattox and Mr. Norris seem to be so fond of.
According to a report on Politico.com and other sources, Corey Norris of the Lexington County GOP and Jeff Mattox of the Kershaw County GOP ‘liked’ and shared the article from a site called CopBlock.org on their Facebook walls and engaged in a discussion about it with their friends. Norris at one point is said to have opined that the “ history of the human race would have been a lot LESS gruesome if there had been a lot MORE ‘cop-killers’ around.” Both Norris and Mattox have been asked to step down from their positions with the party.
Details are still being worked out in regards to the reach and authority of the new task force, but sources are saying that prominent politicians and public servants will need to keep a close eye on what type of content they endorse online.
Asked why legislators were being targeted following an incident that did not involve public officials, Horrigan was non-committal.
“We’ve found that these people move in the same circles with state senators and representatives which causes us some concern. Also, it turns out a lot of these elected officials update their Facebook pages and tweet from state-owned computers or via the state-owned internet connection. In the end though, it’s a little easier to justify watching those guys.”
Two years ago, another Facebook flap landed another GOP activist, Rusty DePass, in hot water over comments that compared Michelle Obama to a gorilla. The incident eventually blew over, but not before some unrest erupted at the zoo.
Horrigan reassured legislators that their access to social media sites won’t be restricted or interrupted and to “just keep on doing what you’re doing… don’t mind us.”