A Hamilton police officer has apologized after a tweet he posted about Robin Williams' death Monday night upset many on Twitter.
Sgt. Jay Turner, who handles the Hamilton Police Service ACTION Team 4's account, tweeted "Dear Robin Williams: I truly wish you could have chosen to set a better example for those suffering with mental health challenges. Jay", according to CTV.
The 63-year-old actor was found dead at his home in Tiburon, Calif. Monday. The coroner's office suspects he died by "suicide due to asphyxia."
Turner's tweet, which has since been deleted, was posted around 9:45 p.m. He has apologized on both his personal and work accounts.
I am human. I made a tweet from my heart. I felt it was right. It was not received as it felt in my heart. I apologize to those I offended.— HPSActionTeam4 (@HPSActionTeam4) August 12, 2014
To my friends who understood my intention, thank you. To my friends who I embarrassed, or even worse alienated, I am truly deeply sorry.— Jay Turner (@JayTurner901) August 12, 2014
Many who responded condemned the police officer for his wording.
@HPSActionTeam4 The man was suffering and I highly doubt 'setting an example' was at all on his mind. I'm disappointed in this response.— GFM (@girlfrmmars) August 12, 2014
.@HPSActionTeam4 do you think he believed he had a choice? this is so, so ignorant of you as an individual, and especially as a police rep— Kristin Foster (@KristinEff) August 12, 2014
@HPSActionTeam4 Mental Illness is a disease like cancer you can't stop it— Carol-Ann Wodehouse (@wodesca_ann) August 12, 2014
But several accepted his apology and suggested this was a chance to educate the public about suicide awareness.
@HPSActionTeam4 let's move on from this... And know that you started a dialogue worth having and that is a very good thing!!— Susan Rankin (@twinsusan) August 12, 2014
@HPSActionTeam4 The sentiment was there even though the wording was a bit unfortunate! You guys all do an excellent job.....Lets move on!— mamaison (@ruelafontaine) August 12, 2014
The officer's tweet comes after Hamilton suicide prevention advocates launched a campaign to try to reduce the stigma of suicide. Last fall, the Suicide Prevention Community Council designed a QR code that gives smartphone users access to 24-hour crisis lines, signs someone is at risk and ways to intervene.