July 23 (UPI) — Two Gretna, La., police officers were fired Monday following revelations last week that one of them suggested on social media that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot, authorities said.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson said during a press conference Monday that officer Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran, was fired for sharing an article on his Facebook page about the rookie politician while calling her a “vile idiot” and that “she needs a round,” in reference to a bullet, New Orlean’s The Times-Picayune reported.
Officer Angel Varisco was fired for liking the post.
Both officers were fired for violating the department’s social media policy, Lawson said, adding that the incident “has been an embarrassment” to the force.
“These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. [congresswoman], a member of our government. We are not going to tolerate that,” he said.
The comment directed at Ocasio-Cortez comes as she has been the recipient of criticism from conservatives and the president over her condemnation of the treatment migrants receive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since last week, President Donald Trump has been heavily criticizing her, along with three other female politicians of color, saying in one tweet he doesn’t think they are capable of “loving our country” and telling them in another to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
Three of the four women were born in the United States while all of them are U.S. citizens.
On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responded to revelations of Rispoli’s comments about her, saying his reaction was “Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language and threatens elected officials who don’t agree with his political agenda.”
“It’s authoritarian behavior,” she said on Twitter. “The president is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt and he claims plausible deniability.”
The firings come as law enforcement officials have been under tighter scrutiny over their social media behavior.
In June, 72 Philadelphia police officers and nearly 60 in St. Louis were removed from the streets due to questionable social media activity.
On July 18, 13 Philadelphia officers were suspended with intent to be dismissed over posts they made that “advocated violence,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
Customs and Border Patrol also announced that it would be investigating 62 former and current employees connected to posts on a Facebook group involving derogatory, sexual and racial content, some of which was directed at Ocasio-Cortez.