“KILL THEM ALL” and “KILL EM ALL” is what veteran Colorado Springs police officer Sgt. Keith Wrede wrote in the comments during a Facebook live stream of a protest. The incident happened on June 30, and Wrede was given a 40-hour suspension without pay as punishment, which will cost him about $2,000 in wages. He has also been removed from a specialized unit, according to Chief Vince Niski.
The live stream documented a protest that ended up blocking traffic on Interstate 25, but the demonstrators started to leave once the police came to the scene. “The incident was being covered by multiple local news crews, one of which was live-streaming the demonstration,” Niski said in a statement, according to Fox News. “During that live-stream on KRDO’s Facebook, the comments “KILL THEM ALL” and “KILL EM ALL” were made by someone named ‘Steven Eric.’”
Wrede got caught a few days later when someone from KDRO contacted the department saying they received a tip that the person named “Steven Eric” was actually Wrede using a pseudonym. Investigators then “were able to quickly determine Sergeant Wrede’s involvement,” Niski added. “It was determined that the comments were made off-duty out of frustration, and there was no indication of any physical action or intent to cause harm,” Niski said. “I am in no way minimizing Sergeant Wrede’s words. His comments were unacceptable, have damaged our relationship with members of our community, and fell short of our standards.”
Niski wants the community “to not condemn every officer that wears our badge because of one individual’s action.” He said that officers are humans, too. “Please remember officers are human too and make mistakes. Throughout his 20-year career, Sergeant Wrede has professionally served this community. While his statements were harmful and reprehensible, I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment,” Niski said.