HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville man claims the police chief wrongly targeted him and should be fired.
Benjamin Shapiro said Police Chief Mark McMurray inaccurately portrayed him as an “antifa sympathizer” to justify using tear gas and rubber bullets during a recent protest.
He claims police trolled his social media posts to make him look like an instigator.
He believes police targeted him to paint a false narrative about protesters in our community. He has hired an attorney and wants the city council and chief of police to publicly apologize.
Father of two, Benjamin Shapiro, was at home playing video games when his phone started ringing.
“Everyone who was at that meeting who knew me recognized me.” His social media photos were on display during the chief’s after-incident review in front of the city council. “They said I am an antifa sympathizer, which is untrue. I am recruiting people for protests, which is untrue because I have never been to a protest. And I am a social media influencer which is laughable because I have 300 friends and my profile is private, so I have no clue what they are talking about.”
He admits he is vocal on social media about police brutality and lets it be known he doesn't agree with protesters getting tear gassed. But said he has never been violent and certainly doesn't encourage hate.
“I posted a flag of a German resistance group in World War II that was anti-Nazi and apparently the Huntsville Police has decided to compare that to antifa.”
A spokesperson for the police department said the chief used Shapiro’s social media post to prove there are antifa sympathizers in Huntsville. He said posting material like antifa ideology is a public safety concern, a concern police cannot ignore.
Shapiro believes his stuff was used as retaliation because he criticizes the police and city on social media. “I love this city and I want to have faith in this city again. This hasn’t shattered my faith in the city, but it has made me pay attention more on what is going on.”
Shapiro has contacted the city council about what happened Thursday night, but he hasn’t heard back from any of the council members.
He wants to address them publicly at next week’s meeting and is pushing for the police chief to resign.