A volunteer officer with the Tioga Police Department has been dismissed after making controversial comments about the use of deadly force to protect public monuments from vandalism.
Dallas’ KTVT reports that Phil Ryan, who served as an unpaid volunteer with the Tioga department for roughly three years, was dismissed over a Facebook post he made last week in which he referenced portions of the Texas Penal Code and suggested that members of the public could use deadly force to stop someone from vandalizing a monument or statue.
Ryan’s post, which has since been deleted said that if a person is found “destroying a monument or statue that isn’t theirs, you can defend it by force during the day with deadly force at night.”
Calls placed to the Tioga Police Department and Tioga City Hall were not immediately returned Tuesday, but a representative from Tioga City Hall said an officer had “resigned” in relation to the matter.
Ryan told a reporter with KTVT in an online message that he did not promote violence by posting the message.
“The laws are readily available online, and I do not think they advocate violence in any way, nor did I,” Ryan told the television station.
Ryan’s comments follow the unfolding national debate on whether monuments and statues of confederate leaders and figures should be removed from public spaces and a deadly weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia in which three people lost their lives in connection to racially-charged rallies, counter protests and violent clashes.
Ryan added to the station that he and his family have received death threats since the post gained traction online.