Cheswold cop targeted by LGBTQ activists for pro-Trump Facebook post

CHESWOLD — Town officials are examining a complaint about a police officer possibly making a recent anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Facebook post.

On Tuesday, Cheswold Police Chief Christopher Workman confirmed an internal investigation was ongoing in response to a letter last Friday claiming Patrol Officer First Class Louis Simms “has allegedly made an anti-LGBTQ social media post on Facebook under an account with his profile photograph.”

Equality Delaware, Inc. and the Equality Delaware Foundation pointed to a post supposedly made by a “Louis Judge” that stated “I stand with Trump!!! The flag on the right shoulder is (American flag image) not (LGBTQ rainbow flag image).”

Citing an ongoing investigation, Chief Workman provided a response letter sent Monday to Equality Delaware and declined further comment. Officer Simms was not available to speak on the matter, he said.

In a letter to the nonprofits, Cheswold Town Administrator Theon E. Callender said officials “are aware of the recent controversial postings on social media allegedly attributed to Officer Simms.

“Chief Workman is and has taken immediate steps to investigate the matter with great sensitivity toward those raising objections; toward the community at large, while also being sensitive to and maintaining the rights of the officer. …”

Equality Delaware cited a Facebook account of “Louis Judge,” whose profile indicates he attended West Babylon High School in New York and is from there.

“We have seen the post, and we ask you to conduct an investigation, if one is necessary, to determine whether the post came from Officer Simms,” Equality Delaware Inc. and Foundation presidents Lisa Goodman and Mark Purpura, respectively, said.

The public will be notified when investigation is complete, according to Mr. Callender.

“We expect to bring the investigation to a prompt conclusion and at that time, we will announce our findings and course of action, as stipulated by the laws of Delaware,” he said.

“While this fair and orderly process occurs, please be assured that the Mayor, Town Council and Chief Workman share an attitude of inclusiveness, respect and compassion that reflects the prevailing view of our community.”

Chief Workman would not comment on whether a person’s photograph on a “Louis Judge” Facebook page resembled Officer Simms.

According to Equality Delaware Foundation President Mr. Purpura, “We understand that there needs to be an investigation, and we are pleased that the Town responded to our letter quickly. However, assuming this is Officer Simms’ profile, which it appears to be and we have been told it is, he is unfit to serve in law enforcement in any capacity.”

The nonprofits asked the Town to determine whether Officer Simms did make the post and if so, “we ask that you permanently remove Officer Simms” from the police force.

On Tuesday, Chief Workman said Officer Simms was still employed by the town.

Equality Delaware maintained, “These posts are not personal posts, but rather in the capacity as a police officer. When you serve as a police officer, it needs to be clear that you serve every member of every community without bias.

“Anything less undermines the public trust in our police, and anything less here would undermine the public trust in the Town of Cheswold.

“The LGBTQ community is part of America, and when someone suggests it is not, they are serving to divide our communities and our country and not bring us together. We have to expect and demand more than that from our law enforcement, particularly in these times in which open hate is becoming more and more common.”

The nonprofits took offense to the post because it “characterizes the LGBTQ community, through our trademark rainbow flag, as somehow incompatible with America, as though LGBTQ Americans aren’t Americans at all.

“This mindset that pits the LGBTQ community against America, as if there are sides, has now place in law enforcement. It reflects a discriminatory attitude toward LGBTQ people. It undermines the public trust in the law enforcement community in the Town of Cheswold.

“It also serves to create a hostile work environment for those who are employed by the Town of Cheswold who are LGBTQ or have family members or friends who are LGBTQ. …”

The initial letter was sent to Mayor Robert W. Sine, Chief Workman, Vice Mayor Larence Kirby, Administrator Callender and council members Judith Johnson and Matthew Asinger.

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