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Veteran San Jose Police Officer Phillip White ‘No Longer' With Department After Tweet Controversy

Police declined to specify whether the officer was fired over his comments 10 months ago in the aftermath of the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

A veteran San Jose police officer who antagonized the "Black Lives Matter" movement on social media is "no longer an employee" with the city of San Jose, police confirmed, nearly a year after his tweets sparked calls for his ouster.

Police declined to specify Thursday whether Officer Phillip White was fired over his controversial tweets 10 months ago in the aftermath of the deaths of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Sgt. Enrique Garcia did not confirm what White's status had been with the department since he was placed on leave in December or when he left the department.

Sources told the Mercury News that White had been fired.

White, who had been on the force for 20 years, was placed on administrative leave while the department investigated what some perceived as threatening comments from his Twitter account about demonstrators who participated in protests over the deaths of the unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.

In the now-deleted tweets, first published by Buzzfeed, White wrote: "If anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter, I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun."

In another, White vowed to use his "God-given and law-appointed right and duty to kill" if threatened and used the hashtag #CopsLivesMatter.

White's comments created a social media firestorm with White's department, union and Menlo College, where he had coached basketball, all condemning the comments. Police watchdog group Silicon Valley De-Bug launched an online petition demanding White be fired. 

The San Jose Police Department said Thursday a review by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office has found controversial tweets by one of their veteran police officers “troubling” but not criminal. Damian Trujillo reports.

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association said Thursday it stood by its previous statement in December that condemned White's tweets.

"Offensive, disrespectful and inappropriate social media comments have no place in the public discourse surrounding the tragic loss of life from recent officer involved incidents," that statement said. 

In January, a review by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office found the  controversial tweets  "troubling" but not criminal since they did not threaten specific individuals.

"The officer’s 'tweets' were inappropriate and unprofessional," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said at the time. 

NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.

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