Burlington mayor: Deputy Chief Wright also used fake social media account

Published: Dec. 16, 2019 at 7:09 PM EST
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It now appears former Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo wasn't the only one in the department who used a fake social media account.

Monday evening, Mayor Miro Weinberger said Deputy Police Chief Jan Wright admitted she sometimes used a Facebook account under the name "Lori Spicer" to comment and engage with citizens about police department policy and practice.

The news came just hours after the mayor announced the chief had tendered his resignation Sunday amid fallout from using an anonymous Twitter account to respond to a critic, and that Deputy Chief Wright would step in as acting chief.

In a statement, Weinberger, D-Burlington, said, "While Deputy Chief Wright's situation may be very different than Chief del Pozo's, given the circumstances the department is facing, I found the failure to raise this issue with me in the lead-up to today to constitute a lapse in judgment."

Because of that, the mayor has now named Deputy Chief Jon Murad as acting chief of the Burlington Police Department. Weinberger said Murad confirmed to the city attorney and HR director that he has never posted to social media anonymously.

"I'm just really happy to keep working with the men and women of the department and the neighbors we serve," Acting Chief Jon Murad said in a statement to WCAX News.

The mayor also said he has asked the city attorney and HR director to review Wright's posts in detail to determine whether any other action is required.

The mayor said Wright's admission raises questions about just how many people in the Burlington Police Department used fake social media accounts and he will ask an outside investigator to review the department's social media activity and practices.

"Much to my surprise, Deputy Chief Wright, who I just asked to serve as acting chief shared that she occasionally operated a Facebook account under the name 'Lori Spicer' to which she made comments about and engaged in discussions about police department policy and practice," Weinberger said at a City Council Monday night.

WCAX found Wright's Facebook account and confirmed it with the mayor's office. She commented on WCAX's Facebook page twice with that account, and also used the fake identity to comment on other posts, including engaging in dialogue with people, including Charles Winkleman.

Winkleman is a critic of the city that del Pozo took on with his fake Twitter account. In that Facebook comment thread, "Lori Spicer" defended del Pozo to Winkleman.