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Police ‘double tap’ evidence erased after Ohio AG asked to investigate

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A conversation thread between two presumptive Ohio police officers has evidently been pulled from Facebook days after Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine was asked to investigate ostensible “jokes” about shooting gun owners, and to ensure that all law enforcement personnel understand that openly carrying firearms is lawful activity in the state.

“Shoot the kid on the right,” wrote one in response to a publicized open carry incident at a Texas Chipotle restaurant that drew criticism even from some on the “pro-gun” side, and induced state advocacy groups to announce a change in tactics.

“I’d be yelling at him to drop the gun,” wrote the other. “Then tap tap.”

That reference is apparently to a double tap, the placing of two aimed shots in a target in quick succession.

“You can do both at the same time,” replied his Facebook friend. “Haha.”

“[B]ecause social media posts can be removed and links to them will no longer work, I am including a screenshot of the relevant portions of the discussion as an enclosure,” Gun Rights Examiner told Dewine in a letter, including that as an attachment. While the Facebook thread link worked for several days after the Dewine request was publicized, it was noticed this weekend that “the page may have been removed,” and a cursory search suggests associated Facebook accounts have been closed.

While it’s certainly within the rights of any individual to open or close a Facebook account as long as they abide by rules regarding use of tax-funded devices or duty time for social networking, the timing circumstantially suggests an attempt to cover tracks and keep the chief law enforcement officer of the state from investigating a citizen inquiry about police attitudes and conduct. While it’s unclear if that qualifies as an infraction for interfering with an official investigation, it nonetheless suggest a reflex behavior, and makes it fair to wonder if that is part of a pattern, and what that says about character.

If Dewine looks into this -- and so far, there are no indications that he will, or that he takes seriously sworn officers engaging in such “jokes” and ensuring enforcers know state gun laws -- perhaps he will question the principals involved. Perhaps he will determine how the reported conversation came to be erased, and will further determine if any communications were made tying the deletions in with this column’s May 23 advisory. Perhaps he will also ascertain who said what, and if anyone from higher up in the command chains, up to the attorney general’s office, had a hand in the decision to delete the derisive online conversation about double-tapping open carriers who don’t happen to wear wear uniforms and badges in the course of their employment.

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