It was not clear from his Facebook post whether police officer Charlie Rispoli knew he was responding to fake news when he suggested Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should be shot.
“This vile idiot needs a round……..and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna Police Department in Louisiana, said Thursday, referring to a gunshot and the lawmaker’s earlier career as a bartender, the Times-Picayune/the New Orleans Advocate reported.
The post, which appears to have been deleted along with Rispoli’s Facebook account, comes amid a reckoning with racist and violent social media posts by police and federal law enforcement officers. As posts have been made public, firings and investigations have followed across multiple departments.
Ocasio-Cortez and three other minority freshman lawmakers dubbed “the Squad” have become frequent targets of President Trump, who said the four citizens and members of Congress should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Rispoli’s comment was made in response to a post on a self-described satirical page, tatersgonnatate.com, with the headline “Ocasio-Cortez on the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much.’ ”
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson did not respond to a request for comment. In an interview, he called Rispoli’s comment “disturbing” and probably in violation of department social media policies, but he stopped short of describing it as a threat.
“I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked,” Lawson told the Times-Picayune/Advocate. “I’m not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end. It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen.”
Belinda Constant, the Democratic mayor of Gretna, a city of about 18,000 outside New Orleans, did not reply to a request for comment. Nor did any of the four city council members. Rispoli could not be reached for comment.
Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, declined to say whether the agency viewed the posting as a threat. “We do not discuss how we carry out our protective responsibilities for Congress,” she said. A spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment.
Police officers nationwide have faced waves of scrutiny following investigations of social media posts by 3,500 current and former police officers published by the nonprofit Plain View Project. In Philadelphia alone, 72 officers were pulled from street duty. The department plans to fire 13 of them for violent, racist and homophobic posts.
Rispoli’s comments appear to be on his page marked for friends and friends of friends only. It was not clear how his comments circulated.
Lawson told the Times-Picayune/Advocate that his department is investigating Rispoli’s comments, although disciplinary actions, if any, will not be made public.
“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.
Morgan Krakow contributed to this report.