The Bethel School District in Pierce County said Thursday it had dismissed a wrestling coach after finding that he had posted on social media a defense of Minneapolis police officers after an unarmed Black man died in their custody.
George Floyd died Monday after being handcuffed by Minneapolis police and pinned to the ground with an officer’s knee on his neck despite pleas that he could not breathe. He had been stopped by four officers after leaving a market, where employees had called police about a counterfeit bill.
The four officers have been fired, but there have been calls around the country that they be arrested.
Doug Boyles, a spokesman for the Bethel School District, said officials had investigated social media posts by coach Dave Hollenbeck, which showed Hollenbeck on the ground with another person’s knee on his neck.
One of the posts said:
“Not dead yet I’m doing this for Are police officers the media is a race baiting machine and I’m tired of it I’m going to speak out every time if you don’t like that I’m sorry but I love All people..Wake up America.”
Late Thursday, Boyles said Hollenbeck had been fired. “We have completed our investigation,” he said in an email. “Dave Hollenbeck is no longer employed by the Bethel School District. His behavior was not consistent with our equity initiatives and nondiscrimination policies.”
KOMO News reached Hollenbeck for comment, and he said: “I’m not a racist man. I don’t have that in me, my children don’t have that in them. I didn’t instill that in them. I’m sorry that I offended anybody, that was not my point. I was trying to show something.”