(SANTA PAULA, Calif.) — A volunteer reserve police officer in California has resigned after a video that she posted in which she jokes about running over cyclists went viral.
Laura Weintraub of the Santa Paula Police Department posted to her Facebook on Saturday apologizing for the “mistake” and asking for forgiveness. The same day, the police department updated its Facebook saying that the volunteer who made the video had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Then on Sunday, Police Chief Steven Mclean reported on the Facebook page that he had accepted Weintraub’s resignation, effective that day.
“It’s a black eye and it’s embarrassing,” Mclean told ABC News Monday. “The whole police department is completely horrified. I’m just beside itself.”
After receiving multiple death threats, Weintraub said she knew it was best for both herself and the department to resign, Mclean said.
Another volunteer who tried to make light of the situation by posting sarcastic comments on Weintraub’s video has also issued an apology taking responsibility for his comments. That volunteer has been suspended pending an investigation, Mclean said.
The video has since ignited a firestorm of debate on the department’s Facebook page. Thousands of users have flocked to the page, many of whom are unsatisfied with Weintraub’s “dignified” departure.
One comment that has garnered nearly 300 likes demands that Weintraub be charged with violating California Penal Code Section 422, aimed at any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime that results in a death.
“That video was posted in L.A. County, on her own time, and doesn’t reflect any of our views here. If someone thinks she did something criminal, they can do something about it,” Mclean said.
Others, however, appear more sympathetic. Many who say they know Weintraub personally have changed their profile pictures to a screenshot of the video that reads, “I support Laura Weintraub. Share this if you know her for the person she is. Not who the media has made her into.”
In the video, Weintraub filmed herself from her car commenting on bikers’ spandex and claiming, “I hate bicyclists — every single one of them.”
At one point she asks her husband who was driving the car, “How much would I have to pay you to run one of these over?” The video was part of her Web series Cup Holder Commentary.
Weintraub, who is a personal trainer, was not on duty while filming the video nor did she state that she worked at the police department.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Christopher Dawson, CNN
Holly Yan and Steve Forrest, CNN
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