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It’s truly the silly season when it comes to social media and those who work in public safety. Today (Monday), two Gretna, Louisiana police officers were fired over a Facebook post last week that suggested Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) should be shot for a comment she never made. It turns out the one officer, Charlie Rispoli, was reacting to a fake headline that came from a satirical website that quoted AOC as saying “We pay soldiers too much.” The second officer, Angelo Varisco, was fired for simply liking Rispoli’s post that said, “This vile idiot needs a round……..and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve.” Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson held a press conference (above) announcing the firings.
The officers were triggered by a website meant to do just that–trigger people. It’s called “Taters Gonna Tate”. It’s one of many sites on the left and the right meant to snare their opposition with fake headlines. If you go to the “About Us” page the publishers of the site don’t hide the fact that everything is fake. It also clearly states the purpose of the website: “Our mission is to do our best to show them the light, through shame if necessary, and to have a good time doing it”. And at the top of each post there are more warnings like “Satire and/or conservative fan fiction” and “Paranoia inducing satire”. In the post that caught the Gretna officers it says, “AOC is crazy! Simple satire for simple people”.
During his press conference, Chief Lawson pointed out that his officers had social media training covering these issues as recently as this month. The department even shared a news story with officers about the Facebook scandal in the Philadelphia Police Department. It was announced last week that 13 Philly officers will be fired and scores others disciplined for posts considered racist and misogynistic and that included threats of violence. Despite that, Lawson’s two officers were not able to avoid being fired.
Lawson said the incident “has been an embarrassment” to his police department and that such comments by members of law enforcement were unacceptable.
“These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. (congresswoman), a member of our government,” he said. “We are not going to tolerate that.”
As for “Taters Gonna Tate”, it posted this article a short time ago. And yes, it’s a fake.