Facebook blocks promotion of Officer of the Year post, claims it was a ‘sensitive social issue’

Facebook blocked the Illinois Association of Chiefs’ request to promote its Officer of the Year post, which honored an officer who was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck during a domestic incident before shooting the suspect.

The stab wounds damaged East Peoria police officer Jeffrey Bieber’s nerves and struck an artery, “which caused the officer to bleed profusely” and fell on his back in the Feb. 2 incident, police said.

He tried to use his taser but it was unsuccessful and the suspect – identified as Joshua Crites, 19 – sat on top of him. Bieber shot Crites and eventually killed him.

Agent Bieber was commended by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police for “not only for his sacrifice during and after the incident, but for being an outstanding officer serving and protecting the citizens of East Peoria every day.”

But Facebook said the post was about a “sensitive social issue” and declined the state police’s request to promote the post, which can be done for a fee.

In a statement to the Diary star, Facebook said:

“This ad content has been rightly disapproved for violating Facebook’s Advertising Policies and Guidelines. By policy, your ad may have been rejected because it mentions or addresses sensitive social issues that could affect public opinion, how people vote, and affect the outcome of an election or pending legislation.”

East Peoria Police Officer Jeffrey Bieber was awarded a prestigious state honor, but Facebook declined to promote the police group’s post about it because it contained “sensitive matter.”


Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Ed Wojcicki

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police executive director Ed Wojcicki called Facebook’s decision not to promote the group’s Facebook post honoring Officer Bieber “ridiculous”

This is the Facebook post the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police wanted Facebook to promote

This is the Facebook post the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police wanted Facebook to promote

The social media giant’s response sparked unrest among Illinois police groups, including the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP), which started an online petition on change.org to overturn Facebook’s decision.

“That seemed ridiculous to us,” ILACP director Ed Wojcicki said in a… pronunciation.

“The way we see it,” Wojcicki said, “is that Facebook thinks it’s wrong to honor a brave police officer who suffered serious injuries while protecting his central Illinois city.

How is that remotely political? Facebook should not realize that many police officers face serious physical and verbal abuse on a daily basis.

“Our recognition of Officer Bieber is to honor an officer who made a great personal sacrifice and to help Americans understand and appreciate the sacrifices many officers make. We want Facebook to understand that by hearing from supporters of this officer and the thousands of good officers in our ranks.”

Commenting on the ILACP’s Facebook post about the social media giant’s decision, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association said, “FB did the same to us with our Deputy Correctional Officer and Telecommunications Officers of the Year in February. It’s maddening!!”

ILACP started an online petition to reverse Facebook's decision

ILACP started an online petition to reverse Facebook’s decision

Illinois Sheriff's Association Responds to ILACP's Facebook Post

Illinois Sheriff’s Association Responds to ILACP’s Facebook Post

In response to the Journal Star’s investigation, a Facebook statement suggested the police group may have falsely requested the “boost” ad, so the company “contacted the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police directly to explain how this type of advertisement.’

Agent Bieber began his career with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, serving as a full-time correctional officer in 2007 and became a part-time police officer for the small, rural community of Hopedale in August 2008.

In May 2011, he was hired full-time by the City of North Pekin, attended Police Academy and worked for North Pekin until being hired by East Peoria on November 16, 2012.

“Officer Bieber is an example of honor, courage, dedication and humility,” said East Peoria Chief Rich Chief Brodrick. He always has a friendly smile and a great sense of humor.’

Wojcicki said of this incident that “this is one of those scenarios that can happen to any officer in any part of Illinois on any day.

“In fact, agents in Illinois face levels of non-compliance on a daily basis and are victims of physical and verbal abuse,” he said. “Bieber used his training to try non-lethal responses, such as creating distance and deploying his taser, but in the end the situation put Bieber’s life in grave danger.”