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Hillsborough deputy investigated for Facebook comments about George Floyd

In one comment, Deputy Matthew Archambeau said Floyd’s death “is the best outcome.”

TAMPA — A Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy is under investigation for Facebook comments he made about George Floyd, including one that called Floyd’s death “the best outcome.”

The internal affairs investigation into the comments Deputy Matthew Archambeau made last month on a Facebook page called “Police Blotter,” is “active and ongoing,” according to the the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Supervisors are reviewing the comments to determine if they violated office policies.

“At the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, we strive to educate all of our employees about the importance of being responsible, respectful, and accountable for what they post online,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times in response to a questions about Archambeau’s comments. “It should go without saying that Archambeau’s comments posted through his personal social media account do not reflect the views of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.”

Archambau is a patrol deputy and has remained on normal duty while the review is underway. He declined to comment to the Times when reached by phone Tuesday.

Archambeau made the comments in a thread under a post linking to a Minneapolis Star Tribune story about developments in the legal case against Minneapolis police officers who have been criminally charged in Floyd’s death.

“It’s sad the officers are dealing with this mess. But him dead is the best outcome,” Archambeau wrote, and added a smiling emoji.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has launched an internal investigation into one of its deputies, Matthew Archambeau, after he posted Facebook comments about George Floyd including one that said Floyd's death "is the best outcome." [ Facebook ]

Archambeau then got into an exchange with other users who criticized his comment.

“Oh, the wrongful accusations of the officers wasn’t wrong?” Archambeau wrote in one reply. “His violent criminal history isn’t wrong? Tell me, what benefit did he provide society? Scum.”

“I really hope you don’t wear a badge,” a user named Wyatt Anderson replied. “People with your mentality give other officers a bad name.”

“I know, your compassion for thugs is much more beneficial in life than someone who hates them,” Archambeau replied.

In other comments, Archambeau said no one killed Floyd, “he killed himself,” and “at least we can agree that he should have been killed the day he had a gun to a pregnant females stomach.”

That’s an apparent reference to a 2007 case in which Floyd pleaded guilty to armed robbery with a deadly weapon. Floyd was one of six men involved in a home robbery, but fact-checking organizations including PolitiFact have noted that that there is no evidence that one of the women home at the time was pregnant or that Floyd threatened to kill her baby.

“Almost immediately after Deputy Matthew Archambeau’s comments were made on social media, we took proactive steps and began to look into this matter,” the Sheriff’s Office’s statement said.

Archambeau’s personnel file was not immediately available Wednesday.

This screengrab shows another portion of the comment thread that prompted the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to launch an internal investigation into Deputy Matthew Archambeau. [ Facebook ]

A video showing Floyd’s arrest just before his death on May 25 sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The officer seen in the video kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested four days later. He’s charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Three other officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Kiernan Lane and Tou Thao — were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired. Their criminal cases are pending.

Daily protests in the Tampa Bay area continued for weeks. On May 30, peaceful protests gave way to looting and rioting in the University area later that night and into the next morning. The Sheriff’s Office was among local agencies that responded to the unrest.

On May 31, Archambeau posted a photo of four Hillsborough deputies in riot gear standing next to a patrol car. It’s unclear if he is one of the deputies pictured.

Facebook friends responded to the post by thanking him for his service and telling him to stay safe.

“I know my partners will enjoy seeing your comments!” Archambeau responded in a comment.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to note that investigation into Archambeau’s comments is an internal affairs case. The Sheriff’s Office initially provided incorrect information on this point.