Police officers fired after calling U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a ‘vile idiot’ on social media

By Jacey Fortin | The New York Times News Service |

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) attends the funeral of Luis Alvarez, a former New York City police detective who was diagnosed with cancer after working at Ground Zero, in New York, U.S. Two police officers in Gretna, Louisiana, were fired Monday, four days after one of them referred to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a “vile idiot” on social media and suggested that she should be shot.
SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

Two police officers in Gretna, Louisiana, were fired Monday, four days after one of them referred to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a “vile idiot” on social media and suggested that she should be shot.

Chief Arthur Lawson of the Gretna Police Department announced the terminations, saying that Charles Rispoli, the officer who wrote the Facebook post, and Angelo Varisco, who liked the post online, had violated the department’s social media policy.

“This incident, we feel, has been an embarrassment to our department,” Lawson said at a news conference. “These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. congressman, a member of our government. We’re not going to tolerate that.”

Rispoli, a 14-year veteran of the Police Department, said in a Facebook post Thursday that Ocasio-Cortez “needs a round — and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” a reference to her past work as a bartender, according to a screenshot of the comment obtained by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.

Varisco joined the department in 2016. In the screenshot, his name can be seen as one of four who reacted to the post, either with a laughing face emoji or a thumbs-up.

Neither Rispoli nor Varisco could be reached for comment Monday evening.

“I applaud the investigation,” Mayor Belinda Constant said in an interview. “I think it was done appropriately, it was done expeditiously, and it absolutely was the right decision.”

Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is a self-described democratic socialist and has been a strong critic of President Donald Trump. She is one of four first-year female Democrats in the House — three of whom were born in the United States — who were told by Trump to “go back” to their countries in a Twitter post last week.

A representative for Ocasio-Cortez declined to comment Monday night.

Lawson said he had trouble understanding Rispoli’s post, especially since the article he shared — which claimed that Ocasio-Cortez had said soldiers were paid too much — was satirical.

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About Cholo Brooks 10811 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.