Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)
A Louisiana police officer—who when he isn’t manning the streets—apparently has time to post threatening messages about elected officials on social media.
Officer Charlie Rispoli took time out of his day to write a Facebook post suggesting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot; he also noted that the Democratic congresswoman from New York is a “vile idiot.”
“This vile idiot needs a round,” Rispoli wrote on social media and probably figured no one would read it because it was only on social media. In case anyone was wondering what Rispoli meant by “a round,” the officer kindly cleared that up as well, posting: “And I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” NOLA.com reports, in reference to Ocasio-Cortez’s time as a bartender.
Rispoli has been a member of the Gretna, La., police force since 2005.
“The department’s Police Chief Arthur Lawson told the local news site that the post was ‘disturbing’ and appeared to violate the department’s social media policy,” Newsweek reports.
Lawson also noted that he didn’t think the post was an actual threat against the congresswoman, but he didn’t explain how it wasn’t, and he reportedly claimed that he would deal with the situation.
“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.
Newsweek notes that Rispoli’s suggestion that Ocasio-Cortez needs a round that wasn’t served in a bar—which, for those in the slow lane, means for her to be shot and the police chief doesn’t believe is an actual threat—was all linked to a fake news story from a website called Taters Gonna Tate titled: “Ocasio-Cortez On the Budget: ‘We Pay Soldiers Too Much.’”
The story was clearly fake and Newsweek reports that the article had a “watermark clearly stating the content is satire. Snopes.com has also debunked the story, as ‘false.’”
Of course they did, because Taters Gonna Tate is no Wall Street Journal.
Rispoli reportedly removed the post and took his entire Facebook page down after realizing that he’d not only made a huge ass of himself but he’d threatened a congresswoman (well, his chief doesn’t believe he did, but I don’t know when or where offering someone a non-alcohol-related “round” is a joke.)
Ocasio-Cortez and other freshmen progressive Congresswomen, such as Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts have faced significant criticism and even death threats since taking office earlier this year. Last week, President Donald Trump repeatedly made racist remarks about the four congresswomen, first writing on Twitter that they should “go back” to the countries “from which they came.” He added: “you can’t leave soon enough.”
The president doubled down on the remarks even after Democrats and some Republicans slammed the attack as “racist” and “xenophobic.” All of the congresswomen are women of color and three of the four were born in the U.S. as American citizens. Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the U.S. as a young girl. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen nearly two decades ago in 2000. Many pointed out that there is a long racist history in the U.S. of people telling non-white Americans that they should return to their countries of origin, even if their families have been U.S. citizens for many generations.
An investigative report by BuzzFeed published last month also found that many police officers across the country had posted to social media to endorse or encourage violence against women, criminal defendents and Muslims. The article by BuzzFeed reported on The Plain View Project, which was launched by Emily Baker-White and looked at the social media accounts of 2,900 current police officers and 600 retired officers representing eight departments nationwide.