On Thursday, Gretna officer Charlie Rispoli wrote that the congresswoman “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” according to NOLA.com, which first reported the remarks.
The comment was written in response to a phony news article Rispoli shared that falsely accused Ocasio-Cortez of saying, “We pay soldiers too much.” On Wednesday, fact-checking site Snopes.com debunked that story as a fake.
Asked by NOLA.com for a reaction to Rispoli’s now-deleted post, Chief Arthur Lawson called it “disturbing,” but did not see it as a threat.
“I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked,” he told the outlet. “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.”
Neither Ocasio-Cortez’s office nor the police department immediately responded to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The violent statement comes amid President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks against Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive Democrats ― Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
In a slew of tweets last week, Trump appeared to urge the lawmakers ― all of whom are women of color ― to “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Omar is the only member of the group who was not born in the U.S. She emigrated from Somalia as a refugee when she was a child.
In May, Ocasio-Cortez revealed in a Twitter thread that she has faced a “flood of death threats,” sometimes inspired by coverage on Fox News.
“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, noting that she doesn’t even see them all ― only “the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling.”
Last week, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent a letter to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, calling for the Capitol Police Board to “re-examine” its evaluation of security threats against Congress, citing Trump’s remarks about Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues as the reason for his concern.
“As you are familiar, inflammatory remarks targeting individuals on social media and in public arena were a central feature of the presidential campaign and now, presidency of Donald J. Trump,” Thompson wrote. “The President’s rhetoric may insinuate more attacks on Members of Congress.”
At a House Administration Committee hearing on Tuesday, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said there were 4,894 cases of threats made against congressional lawmakers last year.
“So far, for this year, we have 2,502 cases,” he added. “So we’re on par to probably break last year’s record.”