Corrections Officers Fired for 'Feeling Cute' Comments on Social Media that Threatened Inmates
Corrections officers across the country are under fire for taking “Feeling Cute” social media posts too far, threatening to harm inmates in posts they say were simply meant to “make light of a highly stressful job.”
“Feeling cute, might just gas some inmates today, IDK,” one person captioned a selfie of a woman apparently wearing a Texas Department of Criminal Justice uniform, the Houston Chronicle reported. Another person allegedly wrote: “Feeling cute, might shoot your baby daddy today . . . idk.”
Social media posts from corrections officers in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia have made their way across the Internet, sparking outrage among many who have said they do not find the captions funny.
America’s Police Problem, a website dedicated to holding the nation’s police accountable for abuses of power, shared dozens of the posts on the site, writing that the officers took the social media challenge to “a dangerous level.”
Other captions included, “Feeling cute, might get suspended for justifiable use of force…idk,” “Feelin cute..might confiscate some contraband today. Idk yet,” and “Feelin cute. Might go arrest your drug dealin baby daddy later #feelincutechallenge.”
The challenge hashtag stems from the original Twitter trend “Feelin’ cute, might delete later” in which users post selfies on social media before removing them.
Now, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Jeremy Desel tells PEOPLE that a handful of employees are being investigated for the posts. Desel adds that two of the officers have resigned from their positions and the other four have been fired.
“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is aware of the so-called ‘feeling cute challenge’ currently on social media impacting dozens of corrections and law enforcement agencies nationwide,” Desel says in a statement. “Currently six of the more than 25,000 correctional officers employed by this agency are under investigation for on and off-duty conduct violations as a result of the alleged posting of inappropriate photographs on social media.”
The statement continues: “These officers in no way represent the thousands of TDCJ employees who go to work every day taking public safety seriously in all ways.”
Officials in Georgia Missouri did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
A Missouri Department of Corrections spokesperson told KOMU that authorities are investigating after a Jefferson City corrections officer allegedly participated in the challenge and wrote “Feeling cute. Might take your homeboy to the hole later.”
Matthew Elliott, a spokesperson with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, says the department is investigating.
“We’ve been monitoring the posts since they began. All employees who participated in the posts you mentioned have been reprimanded for failing to represent the mission of this agency. We’re continuing our investigation and may take additional action,” Elliott says in a statement.
“Corrections is a serious matter. Beyond the extremely poor judgment shown by these officers, being flippant about mistreating inmates, even if it’s intended as a joke, puts these staff and their fellow officers at risk. This is no laughing matter.”
Officers with Texas’ Aransas Pass Police Department also took part in the challenge, sharing a photo of one of the department’s patrol cars, writing, “Feelin’ cute.. might stop someone later, idk…”
However, authorities with the department said they haven’t received any complaints over that particular photo.
Cases of inmate abuse are common and sometimes extreme. The Washington Post reported three Milwaukee County Jail employees faced charges last year after a mentally ill inmate died after being allegedly denied water for a week. In February, those incarcerated at Brooklyn, New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center went over a week with no power and very little heat, according to the New York Times. In 2018, at the same jail, three officials were charged for sexually assaulting half-a-dozen incarcerated women, the Times reported.