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Police chief goes on rant calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group, then retires

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By Ashley Morris, StarNews Staff

SURF CITY — Surf City Police Chief Mike Halstead’s retirement was approved Tuesday by town council during an emergency meeting called earlier in the day by Mayor Zander Guy.

Halstead’s retirement comes a day after the president of the state chapter of the NAACP and other leaders said they were meeting this week to discuss their response to a Facebook post written Sept. 3 by Halstead.  The full text of the Facebook post is below.

As Halstead stormed out of Surf City’s Town Hall Tuesday, a resident who showed up to voice her support for him yelled out, “We support you!”

“Well good, because nobody else does,” Halstead said as he marched out of the door.

The council approved Maj. Ron Shanahan as the interim chief and the town also approved severance pay for the next 60 days for Halstead until he can start collecting his retirement pay.

The motion for Halstead’s retirement approval was made by Councilman Donald Helms with a second by Mayor Pro-Tem Douglas Medlin.

Surf City Town Manager Larry Bergman said Halstead had previously informed the town he would be retiring this year, but after the Sept. 3Facebook post “the town council, they agreed it is probably a good move for the chief to consider (retirement).”

About the post

Halstead wrote on his personal Facebook page about the Black Lives Matter movement, where he places blame for recent killings of police officers, how and when he has trained his officers to respond with force, and the race problems in the country. Bergman said that post was in response to the shooting death of Sheriff’s Deputy Darren H. Goforth, who was shot while pumping gas near Houston.

Bergman said after reading the post he was not concerned about Halstead’s ability as a policeman, but said the town does expect more attention surrounding Halstead’s post. “This is a big issue nationally,” Bergman said.

In the 662-word post, the police chief, who has been with Surf City for 13 years and in law enforcement for more than 35 years, said the Black Lives Matter movement was “nothing more than an American born terrorist group brought on by the lie of the hands up don’t shoot during the criminal thug Michael Brown incident.” He writes that he believes neither the government nor blacks in the United States would tolerate a white supremacist group marching through the streets calling for “the murders of a race of people and a group of public servants.”

Halstead continued to say in the post he does not judge anyone by the color of their skin, but by their actions, and said criminals are criminals no matter what their professions, even if they are police officers.

He then went on to blame the media’s coverage of police-on-civilian shootings for recent murders of police officers.

According to WECT, the following is the full text of the Facebook post:

“Open letter from a Police Chief , this Black Lives Matter group is nothing more than an American born terrorist group brought on by the lie of the hands up don’t shoot during the criminal thug Michael Brown incident. The FBI and other Government Law Enforcement groups need to step up and put a stop to this. The Government and blacks would not tolerate the White Supremacist group to march through the streets and call for the murders of a race of people and a group of public servants. I agree there is a race problem in this country. It is not brought on by police officer doing their sworn duty, it is brought on by the government, the President and his cronies Al Sharpton, who is a criminal tax evader (but has the support of our so called President), Jessi Jackson, Eric Holder and that ignorant S.O.B. Farrakhan who should be charged with solicitation for murder, lord knows a white man would be arrested for the same actions of idiot Farakhan. I am sure there are many hard working Black people who will agree with me. I have been a Police Officer for 35 years. I do not judge anyone by the color of their skin, but by there actions. A criminal is a criminal whether a police officer or any other profession. I will not state statistics because black lives matter do not care or believe proven statistics. I put allot of the blame for these cop murders on the media and the way they report police related shootings. There is no need to list or even state the race of a person shot by the police. It is more important to wait for the facts and report those. But and a big but that does not make money for these greedy media ass holes. When a black thug is killed by the police they are all over it as is Mr. Barack Obama. However when a police officer white, black or any race is murdered for doing his job the media is short with it’s reporting or not at all. When a white person is killed by a black officer you hear nothing. Has our so called President spoke publicly about these murders of police officers by blacks, HELL NO he has not. Step up Mr. President, or step down because we do not need you. Has our Attorney General spoke against these murders, no of course not because she was appointed by Barack Obama. Now let me say this, and this is not a threat but common knowledge. I have instructed my officers to be vigilant, if threatened take appropriate action. If that means shoot a thug, then do it and answer for it while you are still alive not dead. Law Enforcement is fed up with this murderous society who want to take out those who protect and serve. Imagine if all law enforcement shut down for just 1 day. There would be murders, rapes, robberies, you name it. America wake up, all of you black, white, Mexican whatever you need the police, we do not need you. End this Black Lives Matter bull shit and start a movement that all lives matter. As for the New Black Panther movement who wants to kill whites and cops, go for it, we are ready for you. You take one of us and there will be 100 who will step up and end you. This letter is not meant to offend anyone, just the feelings of a man who has spent the last 35 years of his life serving and protecting, for what so a thug can take it or to be treated as a criminal by the very people I swore to protect. Let’s get this around folks so maybe our President and the media will get a wake up call. Be safe all of my Brothers and Sisters in blue, not white, black, yellow or brown BLUE.”

Department has guidelines

Bergman said he spoke to Halstead about the post after the StarNews sent Bergman the post Monday. Bergman said the town currently does not have any policies governing an employee’s use of social media. Tuesday, Bergman found the Surf City Police Department’s personnel guidelines do include how officers should present themselves on social media.

The town is currently updating all of its personnel policies, Bergman said, including creating guidelines for social media.

Bergman said Halstead did not mention Surf City specifically in the post or intend for the post to be about local issues.

But Halstead did write about his officers: “Now let me say this, and this is not a threat but common knowledge. I have instructed my officers to be vigilant, if threatened take appropriate action. If that means shoot a thug, then do it and answer for it while you are still alive not dead.”

The chief removed the post from his Facebook page Monday, but Bergman said Halstead did that on his own accord and was not instructed by the town to do so.

When asked if Bergman agreed with Halstead’s description of using force, Bergman said he expects all of the town employees to carry out their jobs and be professionals.

Mike Halstead Facebook Page.
Mike Halstead Facebook Page.

“I do expect for our officers to be vigilant — that is not a new concept,” Bergman said. “If an officer ever doubts their actions and it’s a difference between life and death for them, I want them to be confident in their work and if they were ever in a situation where they felt threatened they have protocol to follow.”

Bergman said the officers are trained to respond appropriately for each situation and not escalate incidents that do not need to be escalated. For example, he said if a suspect being arrested was mouthing off to an officer, the officer knows to not use physical force, but if a suspect resisted arrest or fought back, then physical force would be used.

‘It is quite troubling’

North Carolina NAACP President the Rev. William J. Barber II said the chief’s comments were forwarded to him Monday by New Hanover County NAACP district President Deborah Dicks Maxwell. Barber said he, a team of lawyers, the NAACP criminal justice chair and Maxwell would review the post this week.

“After seeing the post, on first read it is quite troubling,” Barber said. “It is not just the words in the post that are troubling, but the attitude of this chief and his officers who are called to protect and serve people — all people.”

At Tuesday’s emergency town meeting five residents voiced their support for Halstead, including two who confronted the council after the meeting was adjourned and chided council members for meeting in a closed session and not in a public hearing.

“As important as an issue this is I don’t think this should have been a closed-session meeting,” 40-year resident Larry Rice told the council. “I think this should be a public hearing to let our citizens know what has just happened to a man who has dedicated 17 years of his life to defend, protect and take care of the citizens of this city.”

Surf City Mayor Zander Guy referred all comments to Bergman on the matter.

Halstead did not return a phone call from a reporter Monday evening and did not answer questions as he left Tuesday’s meeting.

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