Two Gretna, Louisiana police officers have been fired after one made a Facebook post suggesting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot, and the other officer “liked” it.
Officer Charles Rispoli wrote in the post last week that the Ocasio-Cortez is a “vile idiot” who “needs a round … and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” which is seemingly a reference to the congresswoman’s former job as a bartender.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told reporters Monday that Rispoli — along with Angelo Varisco, who “liked” the post, have been fired. “This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” he said.
The post comes during a time where threats against members of Congress are continuing to escalate, especially with the help of Donald Trump who has incited violence and racial attacks amongst women and minority politicians in the past, including Ocasio-Cortez.
In fact, Ocasio-Cortez responded to Rispoli’s post by linking his message to Trump’s recent attacks against her and three other congresswomen of color. The congresswomen, especially Ocasio-Cortez, have used social media to defend themselves against Trump’s attacks.
“This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior,” she tweeted. “The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”
Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said in a hearing earlier this month that cases involving threats against members of Congress are growing. “For FY 2018, we had approximately 4,894 cases. So far for this year, we have 2,502 cases,” Sund said. “So we’re on par to probably break last year’s record.”
According to CNN, Rispoli’s Facebook post was in response to a satirical article that featured Ocasio-Cortez saying, “We pay soldiers too much,” but she has never said that. It’s unclear whether Rispoli knew he was responding to a satirical article.
Chief Lawson said the Facebook post “violated our policy, it was in a nature that certainly was not supported by our agency and, promoted violence.” The chief also added: “I spoke to him personally just to try to find out why. I just couldn’t understand and I think he just got caught up in the heat of the moment,” he said. “I mean this wasn’t even a real news article.”
Be careful what you post online folks!