Louisiana Officer Is Fired After Suggesting Harm to Democrat Ocasio-Cortez of New York

Free speech comes with consequences, as this compelling new case proves — it's troubling for many reasons

Image Credit: Facebook, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Shutterstock

I’m not a huge fan of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), but I would have expected better conduct from a law enforcement officer.

A police officer in Louisiana was fired for making a soft threat against the Democratic congresswoman — as was another one, for “liking” the post about it on Facebook.

I am not condoning this action against AOC at all, but I’m also not surprised this is happening. You can’t keep putting out dog whistles and assume everyone who hears them is sane, in my opinion.

As Reuters reported, “A Louisiana policeman who suggested on Facebook that high-profile U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needed to be shot was fired on Monday, along with a second officer who ‘liked’ his post.”

Social media — FB — launched in 2006 (Mark Zuckerberg originally launched “The Facebook” at Harvard as a sophomore in 2004).

But people still haven’t figured it all out.

Officers Charles Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Gretna Police Department, who made the social media comment on Thursday, and Angelo Varisco, who “liked” it, were terminated following a swift internal investigation, Chief Arthur Lawson told a news conference.

“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,” Lawson said.

He said an internal investigation had found that both men were in violation of the police department’s social media policy, on which they had been trained. The department would consider further instruction on the issue for the rest of its employees, Lawson said. (source: Reuters)

It’s another case in which “free speech” comes with consequences.

When will people learn?

I’m glad these officers were fired. No one should promote violence against someone with whom they disagree — especially not people in “positions of public trust,” such as doctors, nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, day care workers, judges, lawyers, and others.

“Rispoli, who was responding to [a] post about Ocasio-Cortez by the satirical news website tatersgonnatate.com that suggested the Democratic lawmaker thought U.S. troops were overpaid, wrote: ‘She needs a round — and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,'” said a published account of the actions.

No one should promote violence against someone with whom they disagree.

As far as I’m concerned, the category of “public trust” should also include politicians. If you can’t handle the responsibility of exhibiting high moral standards, decent and honest behavior, and trustworthiness, then do not be in one of these positions.

Do not be in a position of leadership or in a position requiring you to be a role model — where people are supposed to trust you and/or model themselves after you.

There are many other jobs you can do.

This piece originally appeared in WayneDupree.com and is used by permission.

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meet the author

Wayne Dupree is owner and founder of WayneDupree.com. He was named to 2017 Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans. He served in the USAF from 1987-1995; he saw time in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. The father of three, he's the host of "The Wayne Dupree Show."

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