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Citizens protest promotion of Panama City police officer

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:46 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

The recent promotion of one Panama City police officer was a cause for concern for some citizens.

“We are out here to protest the recent promotion of Officer Melanie Law in light of the fact she was photographed with an insensitive sign during a black lives matter protest a few weeks ago,” protest organizer Tony Bostick said.

Bostick reposted the picture on Facebook. Lieutenant, now Captain, Law is seen posing with two others holding signs stating “all labs matter” and “black labs matter.” The picture was taken at a black lives matter protest back in May.

“If that’s not insensitive in light of the things that’s happening across our country now, I don’t know what is. We’re protesting the fact that the Panama City Police Department seems to not get this fact and then as an outcrop they decided to promote her instead of holding her accountable for it,” Bostick said.

Panama City officials said Captain Law was placed on administrative leave after they received a complaint about the picture. They also said an investigation was completed and closed.

According to investigation documents, investigators spoke to the two others in the picture beside Captain Law.

They said Captain law asked to pet their dogs, then they later asked if she would take a picture with them.

It’s also stated the two held up their signs as she posed next to them, and the signs had previously been leaning against their legs.

They told investigators Captain Law never commented on their signs and they believe she never even read them.

In the final review, Captain Law was exonerated, stating her contact with citizens that day was described as professional and courteous.

The investigation also reads “no one indicated that you made any statements they found to be derogatory or offensive.”

Protesters still don’t buy it.

“We’re tired of the excuses, we’re tired of explaining it away, we’re tired of the fake apologies. we want accountability and we want it now,” Bostick said.

Protesters also said they want to create a citizens oversight review board in Bay County to build more trust between the police and the community.

The Panama City Police Department released this statement:

“A thorough investigation into the complaint made against Panama City police captain Melanie Law was completed and revealed no ill intent. additionally, interviews with citizens at the protest shared that capt. Law was professional and courteous to all who were protesting.

Capt. Law has served the community with the Panama City police department for 18 years with professionalism and distinction. with her leadership skills and experience, she is the most qualified candidate to lead our police officers in the position of captain.

City leadership is confident in Capt. Law and her ability to continue serving our citizens and visitors.”

Captain Law was stated as Lieutenant Law in the investigation documents prior to her promotion and during the May incident.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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