NELSONVILLE — A recent hire of the Nelsonville Police Department resigned Friday, Sept. 4 due to a post she made on social media.
The officer, Tracy Varner, was hired by the interim Nelsonville Police Chief, Scott Fitch, in conjunction with the Nelsonville City Manager, Scott Frank. She was sworn in Friday, and later that same day, was asked for her resignation.
The request was in response to an “insensitive” post made on the officer’s Facebook page.
“Earlier this evening an insensitive post on social media by a recently hired police officer was brought to our attention,” a joint statement released on the Nelsonville Police Department Facebook page. “The Nelsonville City Manager, Scott Frank, and I collectively decided that it was in the best interest of the Nelsonville Police Department and the City of Nelsonville to part ways by the officer in question resigning from the department. The Facebook post does not represent the views or values of the Nelsonville Police Department or the City of Nelsonville.”
There has been a great deal of unrest in the Nelsonville City governmental offices just during 2020, including uncovering an alleged theft of least $40,000 from the city’s finances by previous deputy auditor Stephanie Wilson; the abrupt resignation of previous Nelsonville Police Chief Chris Johnson; a lawsuit leveled by then-clerk of council Andrea Thompson-Hashman against community members for alleged defamation; and a great deal of community scrutiny as residents and government officials determined there were bad faith efforts to prevent hiring of Scott Frank into the city manager position.
Screenshots captured the post made by the officer, which says:
“Kamala Harris says ‘the nation has been pierced over Jacob Blake shooting’!….. Only thing I’m aware of being pierced is Jacob Blake with lead. #goodshooting.”
Varner has removed her Facebook page from public searches, and The Messenger was unable to independently verify this post existed on her page.
However, the city of Nelsonville noted that it will work hard to ensure these types of incidents do not occur again.
“We are working hard to give the residents of Nelsonville a police department that upholds the standards of the community and equally represents everyone,” the police department’s post read. “We would like to apologize to anyone that was negatively affected by this incident. In moving forward, we want everyone to know that the Nelsonville Police Department will not tolerate insensitive behavior by any of its employees.”
This is not the first time the city has dealt with racism in the police department, although that was with a different city manager and a different chief of police.
In May 2018, the Nelsonville City Council fired then-officer Joshua Braglin for numerous controversial Facebook statuses, many of them racial in nature and directed at Hocking College Interim Police Chief Tiffany Tims, who is African American.