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Hot Cop Turned Influencer Shot Down In Lawsuit Against LAPD

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Toni McBride Instagram Photo

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In the steamy streets of Los Angeles, where the sun blazes as fiercely as the public’s opinions on the Second Amendment, Officer Toni McBride was serving looks and justice – until she decided to take aim at the LAPD with a lawsuit that has since misfired. McBride, a vision in blue who could handcuff you with her charm as easily as with her Smith & Wesson, alleged that the LAPD, under the steely gaze of then-Chief Michel Moore, put a damper on her rising star because she refused to holster her social media presence.

A police officer with the sharpshooting skills of Annie Oakley and the social media savvy of Kim Kardashian, McBride wasn’t just patrolling the streets; she was conquering the world of Instagram, where she boasted about 120,000 followers. And that’s likely what the chief didn’t dig. Posts included her in her uniform (though her shield and patches were blurred or removed as per department policy virtually everywhere), hanging at a shooting event with John Wick actor Keanu Reeves, posing in pics dressed hotter than a barrel in one of Iraqveteran8888’s meltdown videos, firing what she dubbed in the post a “sexy Glock” and rocking a tank top emblazoned with “FEMINIS9MM”.

Toni McBride Instagram Photo

However, her civil case against the chief and department missed the target. After a two-and-a-half-day showdown in court, a jury declared that McBride hadn’t been wronged by the LAPD’s refusal to promote her.

The crux of McBride’s legal duel with the LAPD hinged on her claim that Moore blocked her career advancement after she bucked his demands to delete her social media accounts. McBride, undeterred by the ruling, is reportedly not appealing but is reloading for another shot with a gender discrimination lawsuit. in state court “over allegations that male officers were treated with more leniency for similar conduct.”

The courtroom drama featured explosive evidence, including blown-up images of McBride in what some might describe as suggestive attire and wielding a number of firearms, something that would likely make most city-soft Los Angelinos squirm.

Gregory Smith, McBride’s attorney, voiced his disappointment, standing by his client’s right to bear arms and smartphones. Yet, Aneta Freeman, an assistant city attorney, painted McBride as a modern-day Calamity Jane, leveraging her badge for fame and using her role as influencer to nab freebies from ballistic vests and ammo to facials and hair extensions.

The L.A. Times article, which first reported on the case, also seemed to take exception to McBride’s wedding photos, some in which she is holding a firearm.

Toni McBride Instagram Photo

The Times article shared this about Freeman’s comments on McBride:

…she cast McBride as a disgruntled employee “seeking to use her position and her badge to make money and to become famous and to become an influencer.”

“Yes, she has a right to post on her social media,” Freeman said. “But with that right comes a responsibility, and she has not met that responsibility.”

Freeman noted that McBride had fatally shot someone while on duty, a case that drew litigation in part because she continued firing after the person was wounded and on the ground. A federal appeals court ruled last month that McBride was protected in federal claims by the legal doctrine of qualified immunity, regardless of whether she used excessive force.

Freeman questioned whether McBride had suffered “emotional distress” over the social media dispute, a claim the officer argued entitled her to $100,000 in damages.

“She shot and killed a man,” Freeman said. “But the emotional distress that she is suffering and that she is asking you to award money for is because she is told to take down her Instagram.”

One of the Times article’s authors, Brittny Mejia, highlighted that last quote on her own social media, however, the case was about the social media and her job, not about the stress she felt over the shooting, which neither Freeman, nor Mejia probably know anything about.

McBride with Keanu Reeves. Toni McBride Instagram Photo

As far as that fatal shooting incident involving Daniel Hernandez, critics such as Freeman argued it was exacerbated by McBride’s gun-toting social media persona, but a federal appeals court sided with McBride in the case citing qualified immunity. California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta’s office, which took over the investigation of the shooting, later cleared McBride of wrongdoing as well, theTimes article noted.

While McBride’s legal battle against the LAPD might have ended with a whimper rather than a bang, it’s clear she’s not ready to unload her six-shooter of litigation just yet, nor has she backed off her Instagram account, which is still up even as she continues to patrol the wild western streets of L.A.

 

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