Presley Garcia was fired from the University of South Florida Police Department last week
A University of South Florida police officer has been fired after officials uncovered her old Twitter account where she described herself as a ‘member’ of the KKK.
Presley Garcia, 26, was placed on administrative leave last month after a local news reporter came across the Twitter profile with her name and alerted the police department.
The account, which has now been deleted, showed Garcia had written ‘KKK member’ in her bio after creating the profile in 2015, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
Garcia had told investigators the account belonged to her, but claimed it was a friend who had included the phrase in the bio.
She said she was 21 at the time it was written and didn’t know what it meant, according to the report.
Garcia also said she tried to delete the account at one point, but only deleted the app on her phone instead.
Garcia was placed under investigation last month after officials were made aware of her old Twitter account which had ‘KKK member’ in the bio. It has now been deleted
Garcia, who joined the department in 2018, denied having any affiliation with the racist organization, and said the bio was written by a friend in 2015
Screen shots of the Twitter page showed it was created in November 2015 and only had 19 followers. The investigation found the account had only been active until January 2016.
USF Police Chief Chris Daniel however, called for her termination in a letter to human resources, saying the Twitter account could potentially draw backlash from members of the community ‘given the activities occurring on a local and national level.’
Daniel said it was ‘reasonable to expect protests and other demonstrations that could disrupt operations of this department and threaten the safety of her co-workers,’ according to the paper.
‘Since the incident involving George Floyd, dissident members of the community have targeted law enforcement officers, their departments, their families and their homes,’ he added.
Garcia, who joined the force in 2018, denied having racist views or any affiliation with the white supremacist group.
The USF Police Department made the decision to fire her, saying it could potentially attract backlash from members in the community due to the ongoing protests against racial injustice
The investigation also confirmed she had no links to the Ku Klux Klan and referenced a 2019 performance evaluation which said Garcia was ‘polite and treats all individuals she meets in the diverse community we serve equally.’
Despite her apparently clean record, Daniel made the decision to terminate her saying: ‘In the eyes of the public, actions of one member easily translate to the entire organization.’
Garcia told the Tampa Bay Times she was disappointed by the department’s decision, which she believes was made only so the university could avoid controversy.
‘There’s all the talk of “Back the Blue,” but not one person had my back,’ Garcia told the paper.
‘It’s very hurtful that something from a long time ago that I didn’t even do has completely destroyed my career.
‘There’s no way I’d ever be a part of that group. I wasn’t raised that way,’ she said.
The USFPD confirmed Garcia had no links to the Ku Klux Klan, but made the decision to fire her saying actions could bring harm to the rest of the police department