UPS Thanks Police for Killing Driver Frank Ordonez

Claim

The @UPS Twitter account sent a tweet "thanking" law enforcement for their service just after an innocent UPS driver who had been taken hostage by robbery suspects was shot and killed in a police shootout.

Rating

True

Reporting

On December 5 2019 — after law enforcement officers in south Florida shot and killed a hostage, a bystander, and two suspected thieves during a daytime shootout in a busy intersection during rush hour — a number of popular tweets claimed that UPS had publicly thanked police for killing the hostage, who was one of their drivers:

The tweet above — sent a day after UPS driver Frank Ordonez, bystander Richard Cutshaw, and robbery suspects Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill were shot dead in the rush-hour police chase turned gun battle, mused:

When the cops shoot you dead in the street your boss will thank the cops

Twitter was alight with tweets excoriating the parcel service for “thanking” police after the shootout:

However, no such tweet was visible on the verified @UPS Twitter account. A tweet sent at 3:20 PM Eastern time on December 6 2019 mentioned Ordonez by name and alluded to a “senseless act of violence”:

A CBS News article published three hours later maintained that the deaths of Ordonez and Cutshaw were being “questioned” due to an “overwhelming use of force” by police:

The overwhelming use of force is being questioned after a chase in Florida ended in a deadly shootout with police. It started when two men, who the FBI said were already wanted for two similar heists near Miami, robbed a jewelry store and hijacked a UPS van.

After a 23-mile chase, the officers opened fire when the gunmen shot at them, leaving drivers in rush-hour traffic panicked and scrambling.

The two men who police said robbed the jewelry store were killed. But so was 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw, who was waiting in his car at the intersection. The UPS driver who was taken hostage, Frank Ordonez, was also killed.

Ordonez’s stepfather Joe Merino told reporters that his family was beyond “devastated” by his stepson’s death:

For this to happen, I think, it was just unnecessary … Other tactics should have been applied, and they weren’t, so when I say the word devastated, it’s an understatement.

Although @UPS appeared to have deleted their original tweet, it was archived on a third-party website. It was sent at 6:38 PM on December 5 2019, and it read:

We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.

Although the tweet did not say “thank you” specifically, it is true that UPS initially tweeted and deleted an initial statement thanking law enforcement for their “service,” service which resulted in the deaths of their driver Frank Ordonez, bystander Richard Cutshaw, and two robbery suspects, cousins Ronnie Jerome Hill and Lamar Alexander.

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