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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a 'vile idiot' who needs to get shot, says Gretna police officer in social media post

The comment was posted on July 18 above a link to a story, the misleading headline of which quoted AOC as saying, "We pay soldiers too much."

A Lousiana police officer caused public outrage last week after posting a fake article about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Facebook on Thursday, July 18, and calling her a "vile idiot" who "needs a round, and I don't mean the kind she used to serve." The post refers to her past work as a bartender in New York. 

Officer Charlie Rispoli's post was brought to the attention of the Gretna Police Department, under which he serves. It was deleted on Friday.

After officer Charlie Rispoli's post was brought to the attention of the Gretna Police Department, under which he serves, it was deleted on Friday. His social media account was deleted the following day. Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson called Rispoli's post "disturbing" although he said that the details of disciplinary measures, if at all taken against the officer who has been serving in the department since 2005, will not be made public. 

“I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked," Lawson said, NOLA reported. "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."

The comment in question was posted Thursday above a link to a story whose misleading headline quoted AOC saying, "We pay soldiers too much." The article which appeared to have invoked the wrath of Rispoli, was published by a satirical website called "Taters Gonna Tate" and had already been debunked by the fact-finding website, Snopes. 

Lawson said that Rispoli's comments against AOC did not constitute a threat as such but was in direct violation of the department policies, which every officer of the law has to familiarize himself or herself with and vow to uphold before joining the force. "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," he said.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) greets fellow lawmakers ahead of the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 5, 2019, in Washington, DC (Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rispoli's comments came amid an increasing nationwide censure of violent and racist social media posts by police officers in various departments. The Plain View Project, started by a Philadelphia lawyer, released in June a database of violent, racist or misogynistic posts from the Facebook accounts of 3,500 current and former police officers from eight departments across the U.S. As a result of the project, the Philadelphia Police Department announced that they would be withdrawing 72 officers from the streets and sacking 13 of them. 

Lawson said Rispoli's comments in no way reflected the department's view on diversity as all the officers were subjected to training regarding racial inclusivity and the appropriate use of social media. Although there had been occasions in the past where officers had received verbal warnings about posts, which included instances when a law enforcement agent had posted while out on patrol, Thursday's incident was the first one in the department where an officer had threatened someone with physical violence on Facebook. 

"We do everything that we can through this department to train our officers to try to make them understand that when they do something like this, the impact is greater than the average citizen," Lawson said.

Rafael Goyeneche, president of the watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission, said that he reviewed Rispoli's post before it was deleted and found it to constitute a breach of trust. “The police are held to a higher standard of professionalism," he said. "Even if this is not actually advocating somebody shoot someone, it’s totally inappropriate for a law enforcement officer to make this poor attempt at humor. All he did was discredit law enforcement in general and his department in particular.”

The officer's comments followed a recent uproar resulting from President Donald Trump's tweet, saying AOC and three other minority congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came."