Matthew Archambeau is the Florida deputy under investigation for insensitive comments he wrote on social media about the death of George Floyd. Archambeau wrote that Floyd’s death was the “best outcome” and asserted that Floyd was a “thug” and “scum.”
Archambeau has been associated with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office since 2010, Heavy confirmed over the phone with chief communications officer Crystal Clark. She also confirmed that the internal affairs division was managing the ongoing case.
Heavy has submitted a formal request for Archambeau’s personnel file. We also asked for a copy of the department’s social media policy. This post will be updated once we hear back.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Matt Archambeau Argued George Floyd Was Responsible For His Own Death & That His Passing Was the ‘Best Outcome’
Archambeau is under investigation for comments he made on a Facebook group called Police Blotter. The “about” section explains in part: “The name of this page is Law Enforcement WTF! Moments. Decide for yourself what the ‘WTF!’ means… We are Pro LE and Pro Military. Bashing of either group will not be tolerated. Whiners will be ridiculed. If you want to enjoy a funny law enforcement page that is not politically correct…this is the page for you.”
On August 19, Archambeau commented on an article related to the ongoing case against the four officers involved in Floyd’s death. The story was about a memo that the attorney representing Thomas Lane, Earl Gray, had filed in defense of his client. Gray noted that the autopsy had revealed Floyd had drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Archambeau wrote on Facebook: “It’s sad the officers are dealing with this mess. But him dead is the best outcome.”
Another commenter responded with dismay: “really? Thats beyond messed up. I really hope you don’t wear a badge… People with your mentality give other officers a bad name.” Archambeau insinuated that Floyd was a “thug” in his response: “I know, your compassion for thugs is much more beneficial in life than someone who hates them.”
A third Facebook user then weighed in: “We are not the judge, jury, OR executioner. It is never in our place to kill someone who is not putting our lives in danger.” Archambeau responded to her: “good news, no one killed him. He killed himself.”
However, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office disagreed with that sentiment. The coroner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide. The medical examiner’s office explained Floyd’s cause of death in a June 1 news release: “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression. Manner of death: Homicide. How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).”
The medical examiner’s office also shared that Floyd had recently ingested drugs at the time of his death. The other significant conditions listed on the coroner’s report included the following: “Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.” The autopsy also found that Floyd had contracted the coronavirus but was asymptomatic and the virus was not listed as a contributor to his death.
2. Archambeau Shared False Information Related to Floyd’s Armed Robbery Conviction
Archambeau continued in the comments section on Police Blotter: “at least we can agree that he should have been killed the day he had a gun to a pregnant females stomach.” He also responded to another Facebook user: “Only person who could defend someone convicted of multiple felonies, one being a robbery home invasion on a pregnant female, and a complete junkie.. would be a scumbag himself.” He then added in a final comment: “oh, the wrongful accusations of the officers wasn’t wrong? His violent criminal history isn’t wrong? Tell me, what benefit did he provide society? Scum.”
Archambeau was referring to Floyd’s 2007 arrest for armed robbery in Houston. According to the criminal complaint, which is available on the Harris County District Clerk website, two adults and a baby were present the time of the home invasion. The complaint explains that Floyd knocked on the front door and claimed to be an official with the water department. The woman who answered the door was identified as Aracely Henriquez.
Henriquez tried to close the door but Floyd prevented her from doing so. She told investigators Floyd “forced his way into the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room of the residence.” Five other men entered the home and Floyd proceeded to search for valuables. The affidavit explains that a second defendant guarded Henriquez and hit her over the head with his pistol when she screamed for help. The report, which can be viewed here, does not say whether Henriquez was pregnant at the time.
The non-profit fact-checking site PolitiFact also looked into online rumors that spread after Floyd’s death. A photo of a woman with a beaten face circulated on Instagram in early June and can be viewed here. The poster claimed the woman was Henriquez, claimed she was pregnant at the time of the 2007 robbery and alleged that Floyd had asked her whether she wanted him to kill her baby. But this information was inaccurate and the woman pictured was not Henriquez.
The woman in the photo was identified as Andrea Sicignano. She explained on Facebook that the photo was taken after she was sexually assaulted by a stranger in Spain. Sicignano also expressed disgust that her photo was being used to perpetuate a lie:
I posted my story over a year ago to use my voice to spread awareness and encourage other women to speak out about the injustices they’ve faced. Today my photo is being used as political propaganda/click bait to make people believe that George Floyd deserved to die. I am disgusted and humiliated, not for myself, but for my country… Please don’t use this movement to spread hate and lies against Americans whose lives were unlawfully taken away from them and their families. Also, realise that exploiting someone else’s trauma to push a deceitful agenda may be the lowest you can go.
As for the robbery case, Floyd later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years behind bars. After his death, friends explained that Floyd had moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start.
3. Archambeau Remained On the Job Amid the Internal Affairs Probe
Archambeau has remained on the job as the internal affairs probe progresses, WTSP-TV reported. But his comments are still visible to the public. As of this writing, Archambeau’s remarks remained on the Police Blotter page.
But he recently changed his Facebook name. According to screenshots the Tampa Bay Times shared online, Archambeau originally used his full name on his Facebook profile. But as of this writing, the name on the account had been changed to “Matt Rochambo.” The profile picture remained the same.
The Hillsborough County communications department shared the following statement about the internal case:
Almost immediately after Deputy Matthew Archambeau’s comments were made on social media, we took proactive steps and began to look into this matter. At the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, we strive to educate all of our employees about the importance of being responsible, respectful, and accountable for what they post online. It should go without saying that Archambeau’s comments posted through his personal social media account do not reflect the views of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. An internal investigation into this matter remains active and ongoing.
4. Archambeau Shared a Photo of Deputies in Riot Gear on May 31
Archambeau has been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department since 2010. It was not immediately clear whether he has ever been formally reprimanded during his decade as a deputy. Heavy has requested Archambeau’s personnel file from the sheriff’s office.
Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020. Tampa was among the cities where protesters gathered to demonstrate in the days and weeks following his death. WUSF Public Media reported on May 30 that protests turned violent that weekend. At least one store was set on fire and others were looted.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was among the law enforcement agencies that responded to the scene. Archambeau shared a photo on Facebook on May 31 that showed four deputies in riot gear. It was not clear whether he was one of the deputies in the photo. Friends and family members commented thanked Archambeau for his service and expressed concern for his safety. He responded, “I know my partners will enjoy seeing your comments!”
5. Archambeau Also Operates a Landscaping Company
In addition to his work as a patrol deputy, Archambeau also operates a landscaping and lawn care company. Records with the Florida Secretary of State’s office list Archambeau as the registered agent of a company called “Lawn Enforcement and Property Care LLC.” The business was registered with the state in May 2015.
Archambeau referenced his company in a public Facebook post in May 2019. He asked friends and family members for help finding a potential employee for part-time lawn care work. Archambeau specifically requested “no sissies.”