Congress

Louisiana police officers fired over AOC post on Facebook

Ocasio-Cortez says Trump’s rhetoric that has incited threats is an ‘authoritarian’ tool to silence critics

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., responds to reporters questions in Rayburn Building about derogatory comments made by President Trump about her and other freshmen members last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A police officer in Louisiana has been fired for writing on Facebook that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot. 

The police chief in Gretna, a New Orleans suburb, announced at a news conference Monday that Officer Charlie Rispoli was fired for writing the post and another officer, Angelo Varisco, was fired for “liking” it, WBRZ reported.

The post violated the department’s policies, Chief Arthur Lawson said. 

“This vile idiot needs a round........and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli said in the post, a reference to a round of ammunition and to Ocasio-Cortez’s  prior work as a bartender. 

Rispoli’s post attached a fake news story marked “satirical” by Facebook that fabricated a quote by Ocasio-Cortez: “We pay soldiers too much.”

The Times-Picayune first reported the post

Ocasio-Cortez criticized Trump for inflaming his base Monday. She described violent threats not as an unfortunate outcrop of the president's rhetoric, but as a deliberate and “authoritarian” tool used by the president to silence political opponents. 

“This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language and threatens elected officials who don’t agree with his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet about the Louisiana officers. “The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt and he claims plausible deniability.”

The president scorned Ocasio-Cortez and the three other progressive lawmakers that comprise the “squad” ­­—  Reps. Ayanna S. Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib ­­— in a series of racist tweets telling them to “go back” to “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” in repeated statements to the press, and at a campaign rally, where he voiced an Islamophobic conspiracy theory about Omar, teeing up his supporters to chant “send her back.” 

The president’s supporters have menaced the lawmakers’ offices and Twitter feeds with violent language in recent days, including death threats.

The U.S. Capitol Police has reported a ramp up in threat assessments this Congress. The force has investigated 2,502 threats this fiscal year, on pace to surpass the 4,894 threats it investigated last year, according to Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund.

Last week House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson sent a letter to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger, who chairs the Capitol Police Board, requesting Stenger to hold an emergency meeting to reexamine the board’s approach to setting thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted members and evaluating threat streams with law enforcement partners in member districts.

[Threats against members increasing, Capitol Police chief says]

“On Sunday, July 14, 2019, President Trump used social media to directly attack four members of Congress,” Thompson wrote. “To date, Trump continues to use social media to vilify these four members.”

Thompson also pointed out that “the president’s rhetoric may insinuate more attacks on members of Congress.”

Chris Marquette contributed to this story. 

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