Two Louisiana police officers were fired on Monday over a post one of them, Charlie Rispoli, shared on Facebook suggesting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez be shot. The second officer, Angelo Varisco, “liked” the post.
Rispoli’s post called Ocasio-Cortez a “vile idiot” who “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve” — referring to AOC’s former job as a bartender. The comment was attached to a fake news story about the freshman congresswoman with a fabricated quote in the headline: “We pay soldiers too much.” A screenshot of the now-deleted post was first discovered and published by Nola.com. (The social media post was marked “satire,” and the site it was posted on claims to be satirical.)
Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna Police Department, published the Facebook post on Thursday. Four days later, Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson announced at a press conference that both Rispoli and Varisco had been fired for violating the department’s social media policy.
“This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” the police chief said. “These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act be conducted against a sitting U.S. [congresswoman], a member of our government. We are not going to tolerate that.”
AOC responded to the incident on Twitter, blaming President Donald Trump for encouraging threats and violence. “This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language [and] threatens elected officials who don’t agree [with] his political agenda,” she wrote. “The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt [and] 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. It’s authoritarian behavior.
The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability. https://t.co/GuYKPGzSLm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 22, 2019
Over the past week, Trump has been criticized for racist tweets aimed at Ocasio-Cortez and three other Democratic congresswomen of color, telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Although his comments have received widespread condemnation, Trump refused to back down and has continued to attack “the Squad,” claiming that they hate America. (He was still tweeting about them as of Tuesday.)
AOC was also the subject of threatening posts and misogynistic memes on a secret Facebook group of current and former Border Patrol agents, which was recently uncovered by ProPublica. Members of the group talked about harming her and Rep. Veronica Escobar during their visits to migrant detention centers and joked about the deaths of migrants. During a congressional hearing last week, Ocasio-Cortez drew a connection between the sentiments shared in the Facebook group and the “dehumanizing culture” within the agency.