After Five Months, Community Gets No Answers on Racist Cop Probe

On September 13th 2017, the Geneva community was rocked by the revelation that racist images had been posted to social media by a Geneva Police officer.

The response from the city and the community was immediate.

An internal investigation was launched, and statements from city officials and community leaders seemed to point toward a swift resolution to the matter of the GPD having a racist officer on the payroll.

On September 14th, City Councilor-at-large Mark Gramling said as part of a public statement:

“I will be working closely with city officials and staff for real accountability in this matter.”

On September 20th, the Geneva Community Compact Steering Committee said as part of a public statement:

“We understand that the Geneva Police Department has launched an investigation into these posts. It is our desire that this investigation be thorough and swift, and that the conclusions and associated ramifications be in clear and direct alignment with our core values of inclusion and celebration of our rich racial and cultural diversity.”

On September 21st, City Manager Matt Horn said to WXXI:

“We don’t want this to drag out. This isn’t something I want to take weeks you know?” said Horn in an earlier interview with WXXI. “This is something we want an answer on very quickly and then we’ll move to the appropriate discipline.”

Well, it turned out that weeks went by.

Then months.

It has been nearly five months since the internal investigation was launched, and there have been no updates on the progress of the investigation from the police department, the city, and the Community Compact.

Not a single press release. Not a single comment.

Like it never even happened.

The officer in question, Todd Yancey, was on medical leave at the time the racist posts went viral. Officer Yancey’s name is still listed on the Geneva Police roster, so he appears to still be on the payroll, just like he was before the racist posts went viral.

Like it never even happened.

The Community Compact continues to schedule training and initiatives related to police/community relations, without providing any updates to a community that is waiting for an answer on what will happen with the officer discovered to be publicly sharing racist images on social media.

Like it never even happened.

City Council, many of whom publicly stated their dismay over the Geneva officer’s racists posts, found time to pass a resolution absolving Chief Trickler of any responsibility for failing to uphold his contract with the city, but seem to have completely forgotten that the community is still waiting for an answer.

Like it never even happened.

The Chief confirmed that the officer was responsible for the offending posts. So why has it been five months and they still haven’t completed their “investigation?” What on earth do they need to “investigate” that would take five months?

It is not the job of community members to ask for an update on the investigation.

It is not the job of a journalist to ask for an update on the investigation.

It is the job of city government, the police department, and the Community Compact steering committee to provide updates on the investigation to the community, because the community deserves to know.


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