Bartow police chief criticized for handling of officer’s controversial Facebook post

A group of protesters lined the sidewalk outside of the Bartow Police Department to demand the firing of Bartow Police Officer Christina Arribas.

BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – Community leaders met Sunday to denounce the Bartow police chief for his handling of an incident involving a police officer. Last week, Officer Christiana Arribas was fired for allegedly calling former President Barack Obama a gorilla on her personal Facebook page.

A citizen complained to the department about the post back in November, which read:  ‘Yes!!! This year we lost two gorillas. One is in heaven, and one is moving out of the White House. One will be missed. One will not be.’

After the protests and news coverage about the post, State Attorney Brian Haas removed Officer Arribas as a state witness in cases she was involved in.  Arribas was then placed on administrative leave with pay.

Chief Joe Hall fired her a few days ago.

“She was terminated because she received the death letter [from the State Attorney].  It still hasn’t been addressed that she made references towards our past president as being a gorilla,” said minister Tilex Altidor. “Nothing, no press conference, no letter, no nothing.”

When asked about the police chief’s silence on the matter, Altidor said, “I don’t know if he thinks by taking the quiet route and trying to do everything on the back end to satisfy this community he’s supposed to be serving but it’s actually agitating the community. We just want some answers and it’s now the end of March and we still do not have a comment from the chief.”

News Channel 8 reached out to the police department for comment.  A representative said call to back Monday.

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