Two cops in Gretna, La., have been fired on Monday, 4 days after considered one of them referred to Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a “vile fool” on social media and prompt that she must be shot.
Chief Arthur Lawson of the Gretna Police Division introduced the terminations, saying that Charles Rispoli, the officer who wrote the Fb put up, and Angelo Varisco, who favored the put up on-line, had violated the division’s social media coverage.
“This incident, we really feel, has been a humiliation to our division,” Chief Lawson stated at a information convention. “These officers have actually acted in a fashion which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be carried out in opposition to a sitting U.S. congressman, a member of our authorities. We’re not going to tolerate that.”
Mr. Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Police Division, stated in a Fb put up on Thursday that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez “wants a spherical — and I don’t imply the sort she used to serve,” a reference to her previous work as a bartender, in line with a screenshot of the remark obtained by The Occasions-Picayune of New Orleans.
Mr. Varisco joined the division in 2016. Within the screenshot, his identify will be seen as considered one of 4 who reacted to the put up, both with a laughing face emoji or a thumbs-up.
Neither Mr. Rispoli nor Mr. Varisco might be reached for touch upon Monday night.
“I applaud the investigation,” Belinda Fixed, the mayor of Gretna, stated in an interview. “I feel it was performed appropriately, it was performed expeditiously, and it completely was the correct determination.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, is a self-described democratic socialist and has been a powerful critic of President Trump. She is considered one of 4 first-year feminine Democrats within the Home — three of whom have been born in america — who have been instructed by Mr. Trump to “return” to their nations in a Twitter put up final week.
A consultant of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez declined to touch upon Monday evening.
Chief Lawson stated he had bother understanding Mr. Rispoli’s put up, particularly because the article he shared — which claimed that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had stated troopers have been paid an excessive amount of — was satirical.
“I feel he simply acquired caught up within the warmth of the second,” Chief Lawson stated. “And this wasn’t even an actual information article.”
Neither officer had patrolled the streets, Chief Lawson stated. He stated Mr. Varisco had supplied safety for the courts, and Mr. Rispoli had additionally labored within the courts earlier than he started supervising “people who have been within the dwelling incarceration program.”
The motion in opposition to the officers in Louisiana got here at a time of elevated scrutiny of cops’ exercise on social media.
Final month, researchers with the Plain View Mission launched a compilation of troubling posts made by public security officers. They examined eight police departments throughout the nation and located that — of the Fb profiles they may confirm — about one in 5 present officers, together with many in supervisory roles, and greater than two in 5 former officers used content material that was misogynist, racist, Islamophobic or in any other case biased, or that undermined the idea of due course of.
The undertaking spawned investigations and repercussions in Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis and elsewhere.
Chief Lawson stated that Gretna cops had been educated and made conscious of different episodes throughout the nation during which officers had gotten into bother for inappropriate social media posts.
“With all of these efforts, one thing like this nonetheless occurs,” he stated. “And it’s very disturbing. It actually reveals an absence of the officers taking note of what’s happening on the earth round them.”
Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.