For a few hours on Tuesday night, Feb. 7, the Evanston Police Department’s official Twitter account “liked” a tweet from far-right political commentator Dinesh D’Souza, whose racist and xenophobic views are well-documented. D’Souza pled guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws and was indicted on charges of illegally using straw donors to contribute to a Republican Senate candidate in New York. He was pardoned by President Trump in 2018.

The screenshot below shows the Twitter post and the evidence of EPD’s like, which has since been removed.

EPD’s official Twitter account “liked” this post from far-right commentator Dinesh D’Souza on Tuesday night. Credit: Screenshot

“This is unacceptable. I’m not going to accept it as the chief of police,” EPD Chief Schenita Stewart said. “I’m going to wait and see what the investigation reveals. And, if this was done by a member of this agency, I’m going to take or recommend the appropriate action.”

Stewart said the official account’s like on D’Souza’s tweet was a clear violation of EPD social media policy, and she plans to pursue disciplinary action commensurate with the motivation behind the account’s activity.

The tweet read: “Slaves didn’t build America. Neither did immigrants. What built America was the original European settlers who established economic, political and moral foundations for a strong, prosperous and decent nation. We are all living off the fruits of their labor.”

Police Chief Schenita Stewart and the Rev. Michael Nabors, president of the local NAACP at a recent town hall. Credit: Gina Castro

The RoundTable on Wednesday talked to Stewart after contacting EPD Commander Ryan Glew, department spokesperson.

Glew echoed the chief’s sentiments and said the Tuesday night social media activity “was not appropriate,” and he would be conducting an internal review to find out who was responsible and the intent of the public action.

Both Glew and Stewart said they had no idea what happened, as the action could have resulted from a mistake, carelessness, someone thinking they were on their personal account or malicious intent to undermine the department.

In the wake of Tyre Nichols’ brutal beating by members of the Memphis Police Department last month, Stewart has been outspoken in acknowledging a “crisis of confidence” in police across the country.

This past Monday, Feb. 6, Stewart joined Evanston/North Shore NAACP President and Second Baptist Church Rev. Michael Nabors at a community forum on policing and establishing trust with the local population.

“I too am a Black female with Black nieces and nephews and males in my family, too,” Stewart said at that gathering. “I mean, it’s unfortunate in 2023 we’re still having these conversations. But I’m hoping these conversations help us get better as a community. I don’t have an answer. I’m looking for help too as a police chief in trying to figure this out.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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