PHARTSBERG, PENNSYLVANIA — The invention of social media has given many institutions a chance to reach out to their communities and, ostensibly, connect with commonality and a shared human experience. Sometimes, the decisions made by those institutions to do just that can be noteworthy.
Such as when Phartsberg PD decided to make an attempt at cashing-in on a popular day in the social mediasphere. May the Fourth has become unofficially known as “Star Wars Day” the worldwide, thanks to the fact that it can be playfully turned into one of the historic and iconic franchise’s signature catchphrases. That catchphrase is at the center of Phartsberg PD’s newsworthy attempt at joining the Star Wars Day Celebrations.
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In a post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, BuddyJane, and Friendster that has since been deleted, PPD shared a meme made by their graphics department. It contains the modified Star Wars line, “May the Excessive Force Be With You!” Almost immediately, Phartsberg citizens were emailing the police department, Chief Willy Magillicuddy told us.
“Honestly I thought it was all in good fun, but apparently there have been some in our community who thought the meme was promoting police brutality,” Magillicuddy told us via Skype, smiling. “In my mind, though, the meme doesn’t promote police brutality. Police training, police culture, and police behaviors promote police brutality. Seems like a no brainer to me.”
Though he reiterated several times he doesn’t personally find the meme offensive, Chief Magillicuddy promised to have it removed from the PPD’s social media accounts by the end of the day. He did, warn, however, that there might be some “unintended consequences” felt by the community as a result.
“I have to be honest. This could be a real chill in policing around Phartsberg,” Magillicuddy warned. “We all know that cops are very, very sensitive. We get easily offended by even the motion of accountability for our decisions and actions. This meme episode will most assuredly leave many of my people feeling hurt, and when cops feel hurt, well, we either ignore crimes or we become more criminal.”
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.