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Salem Police Officer Demoted For Critical Tweet

A Massachusetts police officer who used the department’s official Twitter account to criticize Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for permitting racial justice demonstrations during the coronavirus pandemic has been demoted, the department announced.

Former Salem Capt. Kate Stephens was demoted to sergeant, has been replaced as Executive Officer, and lost access to the department’s social media accounts, according to a statement Wednesday from Chief Mary Butler.

“As police officers, we are – rightly – held to a higher standard of conduct. Sergeant Stephens’ words undermined confidence in not just her, but in the entire department,” Butler said.

Stephens tweeted earlier this month “(S)o you issued a permit for 10 of thousands of people to protest but I can’t go to a restaurant? You are ridiculous. You and Too Tall Deval are killing this State.”

“Tall Deval” is an insulting reference to Gov. Charlie Baker used by a conservative columnist.

Stephens, a 24-year department veteran, issued an apology in conjunction with Butler’s announcement.

“I would like to apologize to the community,” she said. “I absolutely believe and will defend everyone’s right to peacefully protest and exercise their First Amendment rights. I am so sorry for this mistake.”

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