Policemen Fired over AOC Facebook Post

J. Scott Applewhite, J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press

J. Scott Applewhite, J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press


We ran the numbers: There are 180 news articles covering this topic. 11% (20) are left leaning, 58% (105) center, 31% (55) right leaning.

Two police officers in Louisiana were fired on Monday after one officer wrote a Facebook post suggesting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York should be shot and another officer liked the post.

In the Facebook post last week, Officer Charles Rsipoli of the Gretna Police Department wrote that the freshman democrat “Needs a round...and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve”. 

Ocasio-Cortez previously worked as a bartender and waitress in New York before winning a primary challenge against 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley. The progressive and vocal freshman now represents New York’s 14th congressional district. 

Officer Rsipoli is a 14-year veteran of the Gretna Police Department. Angelo Varisco, the officer who liked the post, was also fired after a brief internal investigation. 

Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told reporters, “This incident we feel has been an embarrassment to our department. These officers acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. congresswoman”. 

Ocasio-Cortez responded to the post in a tweet Monday, blaming President Trump’s recent rhetoric against her and her fellow progressive congresswomen. “The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt and he claims plausible deniability,” she wrote. 

Coverage of the firing of the two police officers differed significantly across the political spectrum. A Washington Post article framed the firings as an example of a nationwide reckoning over controversial social media posts by law enforcement. “Police officers nationwide have faced waves of scrutiny following investigations of social media posts by 3,500 current and former police officers,” the article stated.

Meanwhile, a Fox News article did not mention other incidents involving inappropriate social media posts from law enforcement. Instead, the article included a less forceful quote from the Gretna police chief. “Lawson said he does not think the officers meant to encourage violence, but that the message still crossed the line,” the article noted. 

Centrist news outlets focused on covering the content of the Facebook post in addition to Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction. A local ABC News outlet article included recent precautions the Gretna police department had taken to educate officers about offensive content online. “Gretna police had just undergone training that was supposed to make them think before they post on social media,” the article mentioned.