RED LODGE, Mont. -- A number of Red Lodge community members say they are enraged after a police officer shared a politically motivated meme on Facebook earlier this week. The meme shared Monday by a Facebook page under Officer Al Stuber's name has since been deleted along with the rest of his Facebook profile.
Red Lodge Mayor William Larson says people in Red Lodge are already on edge after COVID-19 restrictions slowed the town's economy during peak tourist season, and now, this situation has some residents even more flustered.
The Facebook page in Stuber's name has since been deactivated, but the shared meme still prompted a local community Facebook group called Carbon County Call to Action to write an open letter to Mayor Larson and Chief Wells. The letter states, "no legal justification for arresting democrats exists" and "we are concerned about the implication that a Red Lodge Police Officer would fail to understand the legitimacy of the Constitutional process."
Mayor Larson says he's been meeting with Red Lodge Chief of Police Jason Wells and other city officials every day this week since the post was shared.
"I want to say that Red Lodge takes this very seriously," he says, "The city of Red Lodge has no comment on this matter. We're fully aware of the public's concerns as we receive numerous emails and phone calls. A formal complaint was received yesterday evening, and an investigation will be conducted."
Red Lodge Police Chief Jason Wells declined to be interviewed. The Mayor says Officer Stuber is still on active duty and will remain on active duty until further notice. Red Lodge City Attorney Rebecca Narmore says the city and the police department each have a social media policy. Mayor Larson says the investigation will determine whether or not Officer Stuber's post was in violation of either of those policies -- though it was not immediately clear which one.
The Red Lodge Police Department's policy says employees could potentially be disciplined by the company if their commentary, content or images are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous or create a hostile work environment.
We have reached out to Officer Stuber by email and by phone to see if he would like to make a comment about his post and we have not heard back as of news time. We will keep you updated on the investigation as we learn more.