Salem Police probing ‘wildly inappropriate’ tweet from official department account

Salem police officials have launched an investigation into a “wildly inappropriate tweet” sent from the department’s official account Monday that called Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh “ridiculous” over state social distancing rules, authorities said.

The tweet, since deleted from the Salem Police Department’s official account, made an apparent reference to the Boston protests Sunday on the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last week.

The Boston protests were largely peaceful throughout the day but took a violent turn in the evening, when demonstrators pelted police with bottles and cans, torched a police cruiser, damaged vehicles, and looted stores throughout Downtown Crossing and the Back Bay. Boston police said seven officers were transported to the hospital, 21 police cruisers were damaged, and about 40 individuals were arrested.


“@marty_walsh so you issued a permit for 10 of thousands of people to protest but I can’t go to a restaurant?" Salem police tweeted in the now-deleted message, according to a screen-grab of the tweet. “You are ridiculous. You and Too Tall Deval are killing this State.”

The state reopening plan calls for restaurants to begin offering outdoor dining as early as June 8 amid a phased reopening of the Massachusetts economy, as the state continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a follow-up tweet sent around 10:30 a.m. Monday, Salem police said the earlier message hadn’t been authorized by department officials.

“The earlier tweet was not authorized and in no way reflects the beliefs of the Salem Police Department,” Salem police tweeted. “We deeply apologize to Mayor Walsh and Governor [Charlie] Baker.”

The department said it will “conduct an investigation into who sent this wildly inappropriate tweet and they will be disciplined accordingly.”

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll condemned the initial Salem tweet referencing Walsh and the protests with a response tweet of her own.


“This is completely inappropriate and does not represent the position or values of the City of Salem or the Salem Police Department. I have spoken with the Chief and this matter is being investigated,” Driscoll wrote Monday morning.

Brittany Bowker and John Hilliard of the Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.