AP

Police Officer Fired for Saying Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Should be Shot after Reading False FB Headline

July 23, 2019 - 8:14 am
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After reading a false headline on Facebook, a Louisiana police officer suggested Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, should be shot. His Facebook post, which was spotted by the news site NOLA.com over the weekend, comes amid heightened scrutiny of racist and violent social media posts from police officers nationwide.

Gretna Police Department officer Charlie Rispoli shared a fake news story with a headline that quoted Ocasio-Cortez as saying U.S. soldiers are "getting paid too much." Snopes.com disproved the story as completely fabricated, but Rispoli went ahead and shared it on his Facebook page with a threatening comment.

"This vile idiot needs a round... and I don't mean the kind she used to serve," he wrote, referring to the freshman congresswoman's previous job as a bartender, while also insinuating Ocasio-Cortez should be shot.

Rispoli and Angelo Varisco, a fellow officer who reportedly liked the post, have since been fired, CBS affiliate WWL-TV reported Monday. During a press conference, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson called the incident "an embarrassment to our department." 

"These officers certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. congressman," Lawson said.

Lawson told NOLA.com over the weekend that he was "not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end." Rispoli has been with the department since 2005. Lawson said he does not think the comment is an actual threat, but that it appeared 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.

The post was taken down by Friday afternoon, and Rispoli's page was down by Saturday, NOLA.com reported. CBS News reached out to the Gretna police department for further comment.

Rispoli's post comes as law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are reviewing troubling social media posts by officers that were compiled by a watchdog group called The Plain View Project. Investigations are underway in all eight jurisdictions the group reviewed, the Plain View Project told CBS News, including Philadelphia and Dallas.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of four progressive congresswomen of color known as "the Squad"who have become a target for President Trump and his supporters. During a meeting with Pakistan's prime minister at the White House Monday, Mr. Trump continued his attacks, calling the congresswomen "bad for the country."