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Police Dispatcher Fired Amid Facebook Flap

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CLINTON TWP. (WWJ/AP) - A metro Detroit police dispatcher who officials say made derogatory statements about a police department on Facebook has been fired.

The Board of Trustees in Macomb County’s Clinton Township announced its decision earlier this week following a closed meeting with Shannon Choppa. In addition to the Facebook Faux pas, officials claim the 42-year-old Utica resident failed to show up for work without a legitimate excuse.

Choppa was accused of unsatisfactory performance, publicly criticizing the department, failing to report for duty and absenteeism without leave, according to township documents.

The statements on the social networking website were comments related to the death of a family friend who drowned in the Clinton River after running from police.

According to The Macomb Daily, the Facebook post read in part: “I can’t seem to let go of the pain of knowing that nearly a dozen people you work with chase your friend’s 25 yo (25-year-old) son into the Clinton River, listen to him beg and scream for help because he was drowning. Mocked him while he tried to stay afloat and then ask me what the name of the ‘Bobber’ they pulled from the river. Yeah, they let him drown. He’s dead.”

The post, which centered on the death of Scott Peabody-Cucuro, didn’t name the department, but officials said people familiar with the situation could link them to the department.

Peabody-Cucuro drowned after he ran from police investigating the armed robbery of a Walgreen’s store on Gratiot Avenue this past summer. Police say they approached Peabody-Cucuro, who was waiting at a bus stop not far from the Walgreen’s store, because he matched the description of the robber. But for unknown reasons, Peabody-Cucuro ran when he saw Macomb County Sheriff’s deputies coming his way on foot.

Peabody-Cucuro dove into the water and started to swim away before going under. Police said they were unable to save him due to the hazardous conditions of the water. Investigators never caught the person who actually robbed the store.

Choppa claims she demanded an investigation into the drowning situation, which started her problems with the department — although township officials said that’s not true. Police records indicate that Choppa had “numerous attendance” and disciplinary issues, and had been suspended for 20 days for insubordination and dissemination of confidential police information.

Officials also said an internal investigation found Choppa’s claims about officers mocking the drowning man were unfounded.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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