Crime & Courts

Salisbury police officer fired for ‘inflammatory’ Facebook post

A longtime Salisbury police officer was fired on Friday for an “inappropriate and inflammatory posting” on his personal Facebook page, Police Chief Rory Collins said.

The posting by Officer William “Bill” Torrence “was made concerning current events taking place in our nation,” Collins said in a statement to the media. “The officer’s comment was highly contrary to the legal and appropriate manner in which officers are trained to handle these types of situations.”

Collins didn’t release the words that got Torrence fired, and he didn’t return a phone message from the Observer requesting the wording.

Torrence’s Facebook post “is not subject to public record, and we are unable to provide as requested,” City Clerk Myra Heard said in an email reply to the Observer.

WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, reported that Torrence’s comments regarded protesters in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer.

The city’s termination letter said the officer violated the city and police department’s social media policy and standards of conduct. The city released the letter to the Observer and other media at their request.

Torrence, 47, was a Salisbury officer for 22 years. He earned $43,955 a year, according to his salary history released by the city on Friday. Torrence couldn’t be reached Friday.

In his statement to the media, Collins said Torrence’s comments “are not a representation of how the Salisbury Police Department feels that situations like those occurring should be handled.”