The Louisiana police officer who suggested US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot, has been fired.
Charlie Rispoli called AOC a ‘vile idiot’ who ‘needs a round,’ adding: ‘I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,’ on Facebook.
On Monday, Gretna police chief Arthur Lawson fired Rispoli and another officer, Angelo Varisco, who reportedly liked the Facebook post, according to WDSU-NBC’s Christina Watkins.
#BREAKING: Gretna police chief said he FIRED Officer Charles Rispoli for the FB post about U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He said, “This vile idiot needs a round… & I don't mean the kind she used to serve.”
— Christina Watkins (@CWatkinsWDSU) July 22, 2019
In a press briefing Lawson said:
It’s very, very disappointing to insinuate a violent act against a seated U.S. congresswoman. It’s completely irresponsible and intolerable.
What arguably makes Rispoli’s actions even worse is the fact he’d just completed social media training before sharing a fake news article about the Democratic congresswoman.
Rispoli, who served for 14 years in the police department, alluded to AOC’s previous line of work as a bartender, which opponents have previously brought up in a bid to belittle her credibility as a politician.
The article’s headline read ‘Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much’ and was shared on satire website ‘Taters Gonna Tate’, which points out on its about page that all of its content is fictional.
Fact checking resource Snopes.com rated the news piece as ‘false’, explaining: ‘As of July 2019, Ocasio-Cortez has never said this, either in a session of Congress or in any other forum.’
The source of the fabricated article, Taters Gonna Tate, is part of a network of sites and social media accounts operated by Christopher Blair, who produces a high volume of junk news and misinformation, much of it inflammatory, which he presents as ‘satire.’
Gretna Chief of Police Arthur Lawson previously described the post as ‘disturbing’, telling Nola.com:
I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked.
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.
Chief Lawson added this post appears to be in violation of the department’s social media policy, which has been read and signed by all officers:
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.
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.
The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability. https://t.co/GuYKPGzSLm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 22, 2019
The police officer’s threat came after President Donald Trump called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib ‘racist troublemakers.’ All four of the minority congresswomen were also called ‘The Jihad Squad’ in a since-deleted meme of a movie-style poster which was chaired by the Republican County Chairmen’s Association of Illinois.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.