Two Louisiana policemen have been fired over a Facebook post that suggested Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should be shot ― one of the officers wrote the menacing message and the other “liked” it.
On Saturday, NOLA.com reported on the post that officer Charlie Rispoli wrote Thursday, calling the congresswoman a “vile idiot” who “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.”
According to NOLA, officer Angelo Varisco then hit the “like” button.
In a Monday press conference, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson announced that both had lost their jobs that day for violating the department’s social media policy.
“This incident we feel has been an embarrassment to our department that these officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. congress[woman], a member of our government,” Lawson said. “We’re not going to tolerate that.”
Though it is a felony crime to threaten a sitting member of Congress, Lawson told NOLA he did not feel the Facebook post represented a legitimate threat.
The Gretna Police Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Rispoli wrote the comment while sharing a fake news article that falsely claimed Ocasio-Cortez said, “We pay soldiers too much.” Fact-checking site Snopes.com debunked that story on Wednesday.
On Monday afternoon, the congresswoman responded to news of the threatening remark on Twitter, blaming President Donald Trump for “sowing violence” and “creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”
“This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda,” she said. “It’s authoritarian behavior.”
The president wrote a series of tweets in which he urged ”‘Progressive’ Democratic Congresswomen” to “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All were born in the U.S. with the exception of Omar who emigrated from Somalia as a child.
Trump’s remarks have since drawn widespread condemnations for their blatant racism, though he has repeatedly doubled down on the comments. And he is now targeting the women by name, including in tweets and in statements made at his Wednesday North Carolina rally, as well as in media interviews.
In May, Ocasio-Cortez opened up on Twitter about the security risks of her job, stating that she has received a “flood of death threats.”
“I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me,” she wrote.
During a House Administration Committee hearing on Tuesday, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund confirmed that lawmakers will likely be at higher risk this fiscal year compared to the last.
So far, this year 2,502 cases of threats have been seen, Sund said, noting that “we’re on par to probably break” last year’s record total of 4,894 cases.