Officer Fired For 'Liking' Facebook Post Targeting AOC

Officer Charlie Rispoli was fired for making the post, and Officer Angelo Varisco was fired for "liking" it.

Gretna, LA – Two Gretna police officers were fired on Monday, after one of them posted a controversial online comment about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York).

“This vile idiot needs a round…….and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” Gretna Police Officer Charlie Rispoli wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday, along with a satirical article about the congresswoman.

“It must be hard living with the IQ of a Chiclet,” the 14-year veteran-of-the-force added.

Ocasio-Cortez formerly worked as a New York bartender.

One of his fellow officers, Gretna Police Officer Angelo Varisco, “liked” the post, The Times-Picauyne reported.

Officer Rispoli deleted the controversial comment on Friday and had deactivated his Facebook account entirely by Saturday, but not before Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson was made aware of the post.

Chief Lawson initially said that the post was “disturbing,” but noted that he did not believe the officer was actually making a threat against Ocasio-Cortez, The Times-Picayune reported.

"Whether you agree or disagree with the message of these elected officials and how frustrated you may or may not get, this certainly is not the type of thing that a public servant should be posting," he said.

“I will tell you this: This will not go unchecked," the chief added. "I’m not going to take this lightly and this will be dealt with on our end. It’s not something we want someone that’s affiliated with our department to make these types of statements. That’s not going to happen."

Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on the situation on Monday afternoon.

“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,” she tweeted. “The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”

Officer Rispoli was placed on administrative leave on Monday, The Times-Picayune reported.

Just hours later, Chief Lawson announced that Officer Rispoli and Officer Varisco had both been fired.

Officer Varisco had been with the Gretna Police Department (GPD) for less than three years.

Chief Lawson said that the ongoing investigation into the officers began as “a ripple in a pond that became a tidal wave.”

Investigators have also contacted Facebook to see if any other officers “liked” the since-deleted comment, according to the chief.

"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," Chief Lawson declared. "We are not going to tolerate that.”

He said that such comments by law enforcement officers are unacceptable, and called the situation “an embarrassment” for his entire department.

Chief Lawson said that his department recently underwent social media and diversity training, and that the officers all received news reports about officers who were being investigated for comments they made online.

"We do everything that we can through this department to train our officers to try to make them understand that when they do something like this, the impact is greater than the average citizen," he told The Times-Picayune.

“With all of those efforts, something like this still happens,” the chief continued. “It’s very disturbing. It shows a lack of the officer paying attention to what’s going on in the world around him.”

Chief Lawson reiterated that he does not believe Officer Rispoli was conveying a legitimate threat when he made the post, and said the veteran officer was remorseful, The Times-Picayune reported.

Officer Rispoli posted the comment “in the heat of the moment,” after he read the fake story about Ocasio-Cortez and apparently didn’t realize that the article was clearly marked as satire, the chief said.

"You see in social media where people don’t read what they’re reading and they don’t comprehend what they're reading," he continued. "They take a caption and react, read a headline and react to it. It’s a shame, but it’s the world we’re living in now. It’s sad but it’s something we just can’t tolerate.”

"It’s a tough lesson, but hopefully it’s a lesson learned, not only by our department, but other law enforcement agencies as well,” Chief Lawson added.

Officer Rispoli and Officer Varisco both worked security detail at the Jefferson Parish Governmental Building, and had never been assigned to the streets.

They had each arrested two people during their careers, and all of those arrests occurred inside the courtroom, Chief Lawson said.

Comments (38)
No. 1-22
IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Sad, but appropriate response. You can't openly say an elected congresswoman deserves to be shot (on social media of anywhere in public), and think your speech does not have any consequences. The officer's freedom of speech rights were not infringed (he wasn't arrested for his comments), however that doesn't mean he has freedom of consequences for suggesting a member of congress should be shot. His employer is 100% in the right to apply appropriate discipline to protect the department. Termination is 100% appropriate, especially if he violated the department's social media policy.

I hate to say it, but watch what you say on social media: if it offends someone, or has the potential to offend someone, who complains to your boss, you can find yourself jobless, even if that wasn't your original intent.

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

And we need to start firing people for speaking that way about Trump. Fair is fair.

Or maybe, we can understand hyperbole and get over ourselves.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

The cop should have known better. I'm no cop, but I know a comment like that would be forwarded to the Secret Service, or whoever it is that protects Congress. This does bring up the issue of arresting people that make online or public threats. Wheeler Walker still sticks in my mind. He offered a "bounty" (free concert tickets) to any fan who would beat the shit out of the kid from the high school for wearing a MAGA hat.

usac95
usac95

so how many likes did this post get and many agreed with their comment more than liked it i loved it

ChiefC
ChiefC

The goal of the left wing liberal progressive socialist America hating democrats is to eliminate the first Amendment. But they must first eliminate the second amendment. However, they can slowly whittle away at the first until they get rid of the second. Once these amendments are gone they can accomplish their agenda of a Government controlled socialist Mecca.

71-13
71-13

So tired of all these left wing managers and such firing officers for speaking out against socialism and socialist. If there is even a thread of justice left in our courts these officers will get there jobs back and the chiefs and managers will get what's coming to them in a form of a pink slip.

trainbuff
trainbuff

Yes, this is highly disturbing! Highly disturbing in that you would think it necessary to take such drastic actions over such a trivial matter.

Digger15108
Digger15108

Yet it’s okay to hold up the head of Trump by a washed up Hollywood liberal. It’s okay for Omar to call the President a MF’r for her own publicity. I agree he should not have posted that remark, but the punishment they received was way over the top. Fired? Some kind of suspension would have been enough. AOC is a fraud. We can only hope her Democratic challenger will beat her in the Primary election.

question evrything
question evrything

when someone makes a death threat on line, the cops will be at there door fast! when a cop does it , it's oh no big deal. no harm no foul. when cops fuck up like this they need to be spanked! if all they got was fired then that is not enough! time to set an example! time for prison!!!!!!!!!!!

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

I believe fair is fair. People in positions have posted a lot worst about the President, supporters of Trump. I guess we need to start firing folks and impeaching officials all across this country!

portManaT13
portManaT13

It appears that this chief believes that his officers are to be neutered as regards the real world. Officer Rispoli was intemperate in making the post (he could have used better words to convey his disgust for AO-C), but there was no actual threat expressed in the post. Officer Varisco is nothing more than collateral damage. Sad. The real conclusion to take out of this incident is that there is a lot of trouble in the Gretna, LA PD.

LEO1529
LEO1529

A politician NOT a Chief! Throw the Officers under the bus and back up over them! My PD did the samething to a fellow Officer over the Confrederate Flag!

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Let's not forget what that washed up skank Madonna said about blowing up the White House or that ass hat Robert DeNiro said about punching the President. Both are threats and should have been investigated by the Secret Service. F--- them

America1st
America1st

I love the first thing out of her mouth is “this is Trumps goal”. Isn’t it just like this and the other POSes to blame Trump. I guess the first amendment only applies if your Gay, person of color, female or crying liberal.

Wish505
Wish505

The chief just have spent a lot of time at the bar where she worked in the past and surely is a fan of hers.

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

This department is just caving to the whiney political left.

Justgail
Justgail

I enjoy a poke at AOC but draw the line at any hint of harm or attack on physical traits. The suggestion was in poor taste and with the world like it is who knows. The thing I don’t understand is why people can physically threaten our highest leader with no consequences.

LEO0301
LEO0301

I distinctly remember someone yelling "burn this MF down" to an angry mob and that person never suffered any consequences. I wonder why?

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Total Nonsense.

61mouse
61mouse

People need to learn to ignore AOC and the squad

NYXX
NYXX

🤔 Curious. Was the public aware that the person "liking" the post was a police officer, or merely a citizen?

LivinginParadise
LivinginParadise

The punishment was extreme. A simple reprimand would have sufficed. It is completely natural for anyone to have an opinion about everything .... however, employees in public sector need to refrain as even humor can be mistaken for misbehavior. Too bad they decided to make this guy the sacrificial lamb for having an opinion.