Officials in Geneva have been scrambling to answer questions and determine a course of action with regard to an officer who was found to have shared a number of racist memes.
While a number of officials have spoken out against Geneva Police Officer Todd Yancey’s actions — Chief Trickler has yet to make any official remarks.
According to the Geneva Believer on Wednesday, an image began circulating on social media that displayed a collection of racist posts by Geneva patrol officer Todd Yancey.
The meme, seen below, includes confederate flag imagery, an image that reads “Trust Me, I’m White” and an image complaining about the need to “Press 1 for English.” These posts were allegedly created by Yancey on his personal Facebook page between 2012 and 2015.
In a statement to FingerLakes1.com City Manager Matt Horn added that Officer Yancey had not been involved in police activities for ‘some time’. He noted that in Geneva’s City organization — there was ‘no room’ for racist behavior.
Horn’s full-statement to FingerLakes1.com early-Friday morning:
“Our vision and values are clear, and have been reinforced with our team: the community is defined by the people who live here, and we celebrate our rich diversity. There is no room in our organization for hate speech or other racist or exclusionary behavior, and it will not be tolerated. The Chief and I have been in contact with leadership in our communities of color to assure them that we are prepared to take swift action on the matter. We are actively meeting with the City’s legal counsel and other staff leadership to ensure that this is handled is such a manner as to give confidence to the community that this will be handled appropriately, effectively, and in a timely manner.
The Officer has been out on medical leave for some time, and has not been recently engaged in patrol operations or other law enforcement activity.”
The City of Geneva posted an official statement via Facebook earlier in the week:
“The City of Geneva is a community rich in identities, traditions, customs, and histories that warrant celebration. Our multi-cultural heritage is a point of pride. We will not tolerate or condone discrimination, harassment, racism, or hate speech in any form, at any level, or in any public process, program, or service.
If you witness activity that runs counter to these principles, please elevate it and report it as quickly as possible to a City Councilmember or staff leader. City Council contact information is below, and City Manager Matt Horn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
City Councilor Mark Gramling issued the following statement after the post began circulating:
“Wednesday evening while working a late shift, I received a call from Geneva City Manager Matt Horn. From the moment I said hello I heard what I perceived as fear and disappointment in his voice.
When I heard the explanation of what had been shared on social media of a GPD officer, that I was not previously privy to until this moment, i began experiencing mixed emotions. While listening to a very apologetic and seemingly emotional city manager explain the fact that the city leaders inclusive of the chief of police, are very disgusted with the display and taking this matter very seriously, I wasn’t alarmed any more than normal. Not because I had no feelings about it, but because of the fact that a lot of folks in my culture has come to the understanding of a reciprocal cynicism when it comes to these situations that we have articulated over and over again.
I know many are waiting on a response from the first African American councilman. That’s to be expected. I believe most people who know me understands that I am a man who runs from nothing or no one, and if I’ve addressed these issues on a national level, I will absolutely address these issues on a local level.
With that being said, it’s without question what we see in this post is a continuation of what we have see nationally. The openness and courage to display and perpetuate white supremacy and racism. We here in Geneva are not exempt.
I spoke at a vigil about a month ago standing against the racism we saw in Charlottesville. I articulated that white Supremacy is right here in Geneva
Well here it is!
The disbelief that an entire culture of people has been demonized for try to articulate is now raring its ugly face right here in our town openly! I did not speak at that vigil without any backlash.
There were those who spoke against my dissertation saying that we African Americans always bring up racism to get something we don’t deserve. Folks inboxed me to tell me to just let it go. Some said, if I or we African Americans would just get a job we wouldn’t have the time or energy to fight against this fictional racism.
The sad part is some of these apathetic comments came from some of the nicest people I know!
As the first African American councilor, I’ve endured more than people know from both sides of this issue, all the while trying to effect positive change in my community. But I am willing to endure this to change our community for the better for All Of Geneva!
As I articulated to the city manager who felt the urgency to contact me expeditiously, this is a teachable moment. An opportunity! For those who cynically scoff at an entire community of people who articulate the perpetuation of such ugliness! For those within my culture standing from the outside who are so quick to even scoff at the expectations of “the first African American councilor.”
This is a teachable moment to take seriously the actions that we have been seeing around our country. These are actions of hate are Perpetuated on our community! A community who is rarely given the benefit of the doubt! Well, the doubt is being reassured! And though racism has not been deemed a hate crime it should be treated as such in this community!
This kind of behavior should not be tolerated from our law enforcement agencies.
With a very public investigation for solidification, to ensure our public that Geneva will not stand for this kind of behavior in any form. Not only should this officer be immediately relieved of his duties, his fire arm should be revoked as well.
It is impossible for and officer with this ideology or mentality to effectively protect and serve all citizens within a community with such great diversity!
There has been collaborative efforts through our community compact with GPD, and the city, working directly with community leaders of color for a more cohesive relationship.
These actions are not the values of our community or our municipality, nor our police department and a firm stand against them from city officials is the only way to solidify that!
I will be working closely with city officials and staff for real accountability in this matter!
This is something that has always existed within our community’s. The time is now to not be divided but to come together! We are Geneva! A place where we can progress! A place where we can evolve! But it takes us all who are willing to expose these evils and others to empathize with those that this sickness has been perpetrated against! This is very real and now it’s hitting home! Our home! This is a community cross road! We can become further divided or come together and destroy this sickness in our community and in our police department!”
In an email to a resident, City Manager Matt Horn noted that the City is exploring disciplinary methods, but that nothing official had been determined.
FingerLakes1.com has reached out to city officials, including Matt Horn for an in-depth update on the matters outlined in this story. It will be updated as new information is obtained.