Two Louisiana Police Officers Fired Over Facebook Post Suggesting AOC Should Be Shot

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pauses while speaking during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on four progressive Democratic congresswomen, saying if they're not happy in the United States "they can leave." (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Two Louisiana Police Officers Fired Over Facebook Post Suggesting AOC Should Be Shot

"Whether it was a joke or it wasn’t a joke, it was improper to make a comment like that," Police Chief Arthur Lawson said.

Published July 22nd

Written by Rachel Herron

UPDATE JULY 23:

Two Louisiana police officers were fired over a viral Facebook post suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, should be shot.

On July 23, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told the Associated Press Officer Charlie Rispoli was terminated for posting the violent message aimed at Ocasio-Cortez and Officer Angelo Varisco was terminated for "liking" the post.

Although Lawson said he does not think the officers were truly attempting to threaten the congresswoman, he said the remark crossed the line.

"Whether it was a joke or it wasn’t a joke, it was improper to make a comment like that, to insinuate a violent act against an individual, against an elected official, against a seated U.S. congressman," he said at the press briefing.

The chief also said both men cooperated with the department’s investigation and the post has been deleted. The department also contacted Facebook to see if any other officers interacted with the post.

PREVIOUS JULY 22:

A Louisiana police officer is under fire for a Facebook post he made last week suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported Gretna police officer Charlie Rispoli shared a blog post falsely claiming Ocasio-Cortez said, "We pay soldiers too much." 

In addition to the fake news post, Rispoli wrote, "This vile idiot needs a round and I don't mean the kind she used to serve,” in reference to the lawmaker's past job as a bartender.

Although Rispoli, who has been on the force since 2005, has not commented on the post, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson said the department is looking into the remarks, which he found "disturbing."

"I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked," Lawson told the newspaper. "I’m not going to take this lightly, and this will be dealt with on our end. It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen."

And while Lawson admitted he did not believe the statement was intended as an actual threat, he did say it violated the department's social media policy.

"Whether you agree or disagree with the message of these elected officials and how frustrated you may or may not get, this certainly is not the type of thing that a public servant should be posting," he said.

Rafael Goyeneche, president of the watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission, said incendiary posts made by officers that incite violence constitute a breach of trust.

“The police are held to a higher standard of professionalism,” he told the Louisiana news outlet. 

“Even if this is not actually advocating somebody shoot someone, it’s totally inappropriate for a law enforcement officer to make this poor attempt at humor. All he did was discredit law enforcement in general and his department in particular.”

Rispoli's post comes after Ocasio-Cortez and three other Democratic representatives of color were verbally attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump, who said they “should go back” to their countries.

This is also not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has faced violent and threatening messages.

In May, the New York native revealed she regularly received "hateful messages" and a "flood of death threats” after conservative news outlets such as Fox News seemingly made her the number-one enemy of the progressive movement.

She said there was a connection between the threats and the reporting about her on conservative news media outlets and also blamed Fox News.

“I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me,” she tweeted.

(Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

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