A Wilmington police sergeant is facing an internal investigation after she posted an anti-Asian Facebook post to a local neighborhood page that referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus.”
Stephanie Castellani, a 20-year police veteran, uploaded a post to a Middletown neighborhood Facebook page that labeled COVID-19 as the “China virus,” reported Delaware Online. In the post, she allegedly wrote, “And just like that… the CHINNNA VIRUS miraculously disappeared.”
Residents of the Delaware neighborhood condemned Castellani and contacted Councilwoman Shané Darby in regards to the post.
One resident reportedly responded to Castellani’s post saying, “This is inappropriate for a neighborhood page. We have people from all backgrounds who live here and have a right to feel welcomed.”
Another Wilmington resident asked “Aren’t you a police officer?” and commented that Castellani’s post was “highly inappropriate”.
After getting the attention of Darby, in which she said she received over 20 emails and messages, she then emailed about the post to police Chief Robert Tracy and Mayor Mike Purzycki.
It was discovered that Castellani had a history of uploading offensive posts throughout 2021 and has made several inflammatory claims. She once posted that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government and suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci and Mother Teresa are child traffickers. She had also spread false information about COVID-19 and targeted marginalized groups such as the transgender and Black Lives Matter community.
Since her post that referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus,” Castellani has switched her Facebook profile to private and is now being internally investigated by the Office of Professional Standards.
The president of Wilmington’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #1, has responded to Darby’s email and the investigation of Castellani in a statement supporting Castellani.
Michael Groark said in an email statement to Delaware Online on Wednesday: “Shane Darby should be condemned for attempting to negatively impact the career of a female police officer and sergeant that has dedicated her professional life to the betterment of the city and its residents.”
The Wilmington Police Department has also been under public scrutiny by residents who have pointed out the lack of diversity within the department’s ranks and the alleged hostile work environment towards minority officers. Residents and City Council members have been asking for an investigation into the department and changes to its policies and procedures.