Two Gretna police officers were fired Monday in relation to a Facebook post that alluded to shooting U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, WWL-TV reports.
“This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” Chief Arthur Lawson said during a press conference announcing the arrests. “These officers certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. congressman.”
The fired officers, who Lawson said have received threats in recent days, were identified as Charles Rispoli and Angelo Varisco.
Rispoli posted a story from a satirical news website which claimed that Ocasio-Cortez said soldiers are paid too much.
“This vile idiot needs a round……..and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Rispoli wrote about the article, referencing a gunshot and the lawmaker’s earlier career as a bartender.
Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, declined to say whether that agency viewed the post as a threat. “We do not discuss how we carry out our protective responsibilities for Congress,” she told The Washington Post.
The Facebook post has since been deleted. Varisco was fired since he liked the post, Lawson said.
Both officers were fired since they violated the department’s social media policies.
The firings were swift. Lawson said he first learned of Rispoli’s comments on Friday after The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate asked him for comment.
Lawson said both officers cooperated with an internal investigation.
“It’s a tough lesson, but hopefully it’s a lesson learned,” Lawson said.