Shelby Township police chief on paid leave over social media comments about George Floyd protests

Chief Robert Shelide under investigation for alleged Twitter comments

Shelby Township police chief on leave after inflammatory tweets surface
Shelby Township police chief on leave after inflammatory tweets surface

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Shelby Township’s police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave during an investigation into alleged comments he made on social media about the George Floyd protests across the country.

One of the alleged tweets from Chief Robert Shelide referred to people in a photo as “wild savages” and talked about “body bags for these vicious subhumans."

An outside law firm has been brought in to investigate Shelide’s Twitter activity. He allegedly goes by a couple of Twitter handles: @sheepdog711 and Bobby S.

The words he’s accused of posting could cost him his job.

Police brutality protests prompted Twitter user Bobby S. to say, “This makes me want to vomit. Get ready for communism. We have lost the country to bottom feeders, savages and weak anarchists.”

The account also posted, “(President Donald) Trump threatening to deploy the military. I have a better idea. Unleash the real cops and let them take care of these barbarians. I promise it will be over in 24 hours. Cops are crippled by politicians and the media.”

The account also replied to other posts, one apparently from a parent worried about a police officer son in the middle of chaos who said, “Please make it stop. Please pray.”

Shelby Township police Chief Robert Shelide (Shelby Township Police Department)

“I would hit them with tear gas and water cannons, rubber bullets,” Bobby S. replied. “They have no right to be on the freeway.”

Another person posted, “These cops around the country kneeling are putting themselves and other Leo’s at risk. It’s a for of surrender.”

The Bobby S. account replied, “100% agree. Shameful and embarrassing to the real cops.”

The investigation will be into whether the tweets actually belong to the chief and whether the language should cost him his job.

“The core of all of our beliefs as Americans is due process, presumption of innocents and equal protection under the law and the right of freedom of expression,” Shelby Township spokesperson Brad Bates said. “So, at this time, Shelby Township is still gathering facts, and it’s premature at this time to go any further into this.”

The township board held a special Zoom board session Thursday afternoon on another subject and injected the chief’s administrative leave. It was approved unanimously.

On Thursday night Shelide released the following statement:

"While an apology is insufficient and an insult to the gravity of my comments, I humbly and respectfully ask for the courtesy of forgiveness to those I have offended, to my department and more importantly to those I am sworn to serve. My record speaks to the commitment and professionalism that I have exhibited for more than 30 years without incident, both of which were compromised by my emotion. During my administrative leave issued by the department, I will fully cooperate with the investigation, and seek the support and counsel necessary to ensure that my behavior and comments going forward more accurately reflect my character and person.”

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