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Deputy in the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office under investigation for social media posts

Mar 10, 2021 3:15 pm

Phillip Pantuso is reporting for The River Ryan Griffin, a deputy in the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the president of the department's police union is under investigation for his many posts on social media. Those posts included materials that were inflammatory, racist, inciting violence and often untrue. In the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Griffin shared on his personal Facebook page, posts attacking Joe Biden with unsubstantiated claims or crude imagery, including an edited image that depicted Kamala Harris in a sexual act posted by a friend. Griffin also shared a post calling into question the results of the general election, and another promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. He also went after Poughkeepsie Common Council Chair Sarah Salem and a supporter of Black Lives Matter, calling BLM a "terrorist organization." Asked about Ryan's posts, a spokesperson for the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office said said the matter was being taken seriously, and shorty thereafter his Facebook page vanished from the platform. According to Captain John Watterson, the Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal affairs investigation and the results of that investigation were forwarded for administrative review in mid-December. “Sheriff [Adrian] Anderson takes this issue extremely seriously, and the matter will be dealt with appropriately once all of the facts have been assessed,” Watterson said. He noted that Griffin was assigned to an administrative unit that does not have contact with the public. The department was unable to say when the assessment would be completed. In a written statement submitted to The River, Ryan offered a free speech defense, writing, “The posts in question were not my original content and were not meant to be inflammatory or discriminatory, but rather an expression of diversity,” he wrote. “I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and has the right to express their views freely without fear of being treated unequally. Due to this belief, I must apologize to anyone who viewed this content and concluded that I may be intolerant or biased in any way..." Read the full story at The River Hudson Valley Newsroom.