Corrections Officer Suspended Over 'Despicable' Social Media Post Mocking Buffalo Shooting
Last Saturday, a shooter entered Tops Grocery Store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo police department received a call about the attack at 2:30 PM that afternoon and arrived on the scene within two minutes.
In that short amount of time, the suspect shot thirteen people, killing 10—11 of the victims were Black, targeted in an act of White nationalist domestic terrorism.
One of the 10 killed was security guard Aaron Salter, who was a retired Buffalo police officer.
Since the shooting, the Buffalo community has been in mourning. People have gathered outside of Tops Grocery Store all week and set up vigils for those lost.
One WGRZ reporter pointed out while on sight with the grieving community everyone there was expressing their feelings in different ways. Some were in prayer circles, some were crying and feelings were a mix of sadness and anger.
But none in attendance were making light of the situation.
That didn't discourage Corrections Officer Greg Foster from mocking the shooting, or the loss of Black lives, including Salter.
Foster proceeded to create a meme that featured the front of the Tops building, with an overlay caption that played on the common grocery-store-related joke "Clean up on Aisle...."
Foster's meme caption mocked the number of people who were shot.
You can see the meme here, which Foster captioned, complete with a laugh-crying emoji:
"Too soon? This should weed out some FB (Facebook) friends."
The state corrections department has suspended officer Greg Foster without pay after a "despicable social media" post mocking Buffalo killings \n\nhttps://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2022/05/18/shooting-buffalo-tops-correction-officer-greg-foster-suspended-after-post/9821076002/\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/fhs1vtlCKQ— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1652969991
People were angered and disturbed by the officer's actions.
This is corrections officer Greg Foster and his friends and colleagues laughing about the murder that took place in Buffalo.\n\nWhat about black pain is funny to you?pic.twitter.com/BMzW1UNPD8— Black Lives Matter TOKYO (@Black Lives Matter TOKYO) 1653000925
There's a big mess in Ukraine, I 'wonder if he thinks that is funny— NIGHT WOLF (@NIGHT WOLF) 1652911656
And we gone need a new hash tag, cause they aren't stopping no anti black hate! We need to strictly focus on that ANTI-BLACK HATE CRIME BILL! Run it into the ground until something is passed on behalf of our people man,this shh is ridiculous, & they know it!— Trusno (@Trusno) 1652960887
Sickening sickness— I GOTreceipts\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2 (@I GOTreceipts\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf2) 1652918176
Greg was \u201csuspended without pay\u201d but let\u2019s get him FIRED. ALL THE OTHERS TOO!!!— Cee (@Cee) 1652912897
This is nothing new no one should be surprised they do this everytime a black person is the victim of a hate crime,these the same mfs that gathered around and laughed as we were being hung— Glam (@Glam) 1652915119
If A correctional Officer get\u2019s killed in the Line of Duty, & a civilian was 2 Make jokes they way him & his B*tch ass friends did-COBA would Demand The civilians Employer 2 fire that Individual! Well GUESS wht He needs 2 be Terminated forthwith & loose his Pension!— RAY A. (@RAY A.) 1653018866
imagine this being the person u call for help as a black person— TREEZ\u2122 \ud83e\udd76\ud83e\udd77 (@TREEZ\u2122 \ud83e\udd76\ud83e\udd77) 1652986594
Wow...that's disgusting on every level— Ism-freezone\ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udd4a\ud83c\udf39\ud83d\udc2c\ud83d\udc08\ud83d\ude3d\ud83d\udc8b\ud83d\udc90 (@Ism-freezone\ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udd4a\ud83c\udf39\ud83d\udc2c\ud83d\udc08\ud83d\ude3d\ud83d\udc8b\ud83d\udc90) 1652971976
This included renowned journalist Rahiem Shabazz, who responded in a TikTok video.
"Now they (Buffalo correction officers) are making jokes."
"You make correction officers such as my mother and the people that I know look so bad."
Greg Foster of Orchard Park and his cronies in law enforcement are making jokes and finding laughter in regards to the massacre that took place in Buffalo, NY.\n\ntwitter family let\u2019s expose them and make sure they get fired and lose their pension. #StopAntiBlackHatepic.twitter.com/dXG6uEJ1lS— IG: RahiemShabazz (@IG: RahiemShabazz) 1652910515
The Department of Corrections and Community Service (DOCCS) in New York agreed with the public consensus on the inappropriate and harmful nature of Foster's joke.
Foster has since put on leave without pay while an internal investigation into his actions is completed.
The DOCCS released the following statement:
"Early this morning, DOCCS had been made aware of a despicable social media post by an employee of the Department. The comments made by this correction officer are in violation of multiple Department rules and will not be tolerated."
"The Department has engaged the Civil Rights Task Force, which we are members of, for a potential criminal prosecution."
"The Department has also launched an internal investigation to identify and discipline any staff who may have engaged with the posting."
Foster was not the only corrections officer who was involved in mocking the shooting in Buffalo, but because he was the one to create and distribute the meme, he was the only one to be put on leave, at least for the time being.
The names of the five other involved officers are listed here:
The NYS Corrections Officers found mocking the #Buffalo mass shouting victims are:\n-Greg Foster\n-Chris Monin\n-Ken Tarbox\n-Ron Crane\n-Rodney Burns\n-Lee Mohn\nCall (518) 457-8182 to file complaint\nThe Cheektowaga Police Officer involved is:\n-Leonard Janora\nCall (716) 686-3500— BeepAdams (@BeepAdams) 1652989046
Foster is suspended for the moment while the New York Corrections Department looks into the creation of the meme and other behavior Foster has exhibited around the shooting and related events. Other officers who were involved may be investigated as well.
In the meantime, the Buffalo community continues to mourn the loss of 10 of their community members.