KAYSVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Officer Michael Criddle of Kaysville Police is back on duty after being put on administrative leave. This comes after his wife was accused of making racist comments on ABC4’s Facebook page about George Floyd back in May of 2020.
“I’ve worked my whole life to build a good reputation and to show my character and who I am and that I love and care for everybody no matter who you are and so it hurts, building that and seeing it in seconds, destroyed,” says Criddle.
It’s Officer Michael Criddle’s second day back to work after his wife, Amber was accused of making racist comments on Facebook back in May.
“It’s been difficult you know, to look at what our family has gone through and suffered,” says Criddle.
Criddle immediately faced backlash from the community, received death threats, and tells ABC4 his children’s pictures were shared online negatively.
“It was a living hell, I love to be at work, I love to help people,” says Criddle.
“We moved, we changed phone numbers and really through the 8 months really just kind of sat in depression and anxiety, waiting for the truth to come out, my wife’s anxiety went through the roof and depression, she was also put on leave,” says Criddle.
Investigators identified a suspect that allegedly created a fake account under Amber’s name, using her photos.
“I’ve never been really a true victim of a crime and so sitting there for 8 months in depression and anxiety and wondering what the future holds,” says Criddle.
The investigation found the suspect did this to numerous other people they had conflicts with over the last several years.
“His career was on the line essentially, and I don’t think there is a dirtier word in law enforcement than racism,” says Chief Sol Oberg of Kaysville Police Department.
ABC4 did a test and opened up a Facebook account and found just how simple it is to pose as another person.
“Facebook actually tells you to use the name that you go by, they will be like oh that name seems fake you can’t use it, use your real name, but if you use any real name, anybody else’s name, they really don’t validate it,” says “X”, a professional hacker of Noisebridge.
“X” is a professional hacker now working for a non-profit, Noisebridge, that helps people understand technology. He says the best way to prevent something like this from happening is to use two-factor authentication or keep your photos and true identity completely off social media.
“As a society, we need to not be so quick to judge,” says Criddle.
Criddle says he hopes through this investigation, he can earn back the trust from his community. That suspect is now under a separate investigation.
ABC4’s Jordan Verdadeiro did delete that account, which was solely used for research for this report.