UPDATE: GRETNA, La. (AP) — Two members of a police department in a New Orleans suburb were fired Monday — one for a Facebook post calling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “vile idiot” and suggesting that she be shot, the other for “liking” the post.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson announced the terminations Monday. Officer Charlie Rispoli was fired for a post saying Ocasio-Cortez “needs a round” and not “the kind she used to serve” — an apparent reference to her having once been a bartender.
Officer Angelo Varisco was fired for “liking” the post.
“It’s very disappointing,” Lawson said, adding that the Gretna department trains officers on diversity issues and use of social media — and that officers were undergoing such training this month.
Lawson said an internal investigation began after he was informed of the post by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. The newspaper reported that Rispoli’s post included a fake story with a fabricated quote to make it appear as if Ocasio-Cortez said “We pay soldiers too much.”
Lawson said the offending post has been removed and that the department has contacted Facebook to see whether any other officers were involved.
Lawson said both officers cooperated in the investigation and he does not believe either intended violence.
“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,” Lawson said.
“We’ve seen this, we’ve experienced an act like this,” he added, noting that Rep. Steve Scalise of Jefferson was shot and seriously wounded by a gunman in 2017 in Virginia while practicing for an annual congressional baseball game.
Information from: The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.nola.com
ORIGINAL: (KTAL) — A Gretna police officer is causing controversy with a Facebook comment about a U.S. representative that was published and then deleted this week.
According to WWL-TV, its partners at The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate, Gretna Police Department officer Charlie Rispoli posted a fake news article with a comment on his Facebook this past week calling U.S. representative Alexandra Oscasio-Cortez a “vile idiot who needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.”
The comment alludes to the recently elected Democrat’s past work as a bartender in New York City, while suggesting she should be shot.
Rispoli, a Gretna police officer since 2005, could not be reached for comment, but Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told the The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate that he was… “not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end”
Lawson said he does not think the comment is an actual threat but did say it appears to violate 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,” Lawson said.
Lawson said the incident was being investigated.
According to The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate website, NOLA.com, Rispoli’s post was made Thursday afternoon, deleted on Friday and his entire Facebook page had been taken down by Saturday.
Oscasio-Cortez has been in the spotlight this week after U.S. President Donald Trump targeted her and three other Democratic congresswoman of color in a series of tweets, for saying what he called “horrible things” about the U.S. He suggested they leave, though all are U.S. citizens.
On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez told constituents on Saturday that President Trump enjoyed hearing a crowd at his rally call for a U.S. congresswoman to return to the country where she was born.
WWL-TV said it reached out to the Gretna Police Department for further comment but did not hear back Sunday.