A cop from Colorado Springs has been suspended after commenting ‘KILL THEM ALL’ on a video of Black Lives Matter protesters.
Sgt. Keith Wrede used the alias Steven Eric – complete with a profile picture of a #PoliceLivesMatter t-shirt – to post comments on the live stream video, which was shared on June 30 on Facebook.
Wrede was suspended for 40 hours and incurred a loss of around $2,000 in earnings, but the sergeant has been allowed to keep his job following an internal investigation.
CSPD chief Vince Niski said Wrede posted the comments ‘out of frustration’, but that he did not intend to cause physical harm to anyone.
Niski also asked the Colorado community to remember that officers are human and ‘make mistakes’, refusing to sack Wrede over what he described as an ‘error in judgement’.
The protests being filmed had blocked traffic on Interstate 25 with around a dozen cars as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Demonstrators then left their vehicles and waved placards and signs in support of the movement for around an hour.
The majority of demonstrators left before CSPD responders arrived, CBSLocal reported.
Details of the internal investigation into Wrede’s conduct were published on the Colorado Springs police website.
Wrede said that his ‘KILL THEM ALL’ comments made under the protest video had ‘nothing to do with Black Lives Matter; nothing at all. And I just want to be very clear about that. This is not motivated by race or bias.’
When asked if he felt his comments could ‘be to taken to be inciting people commit acts of violence against the protesters’, Wrede responded with ‘Unfortunately, yes’.
As the interview drew to a close, Wrede added: ‘Again I just want to reiterate, during the protest, during work, my behavior as a leader I think is exceptional. I do the job.’
He claimed he used the false name on Facebook ‘So nobody knows who I am. I mean, obviously I don’t want people to know that – who I am – so that’s the purpose behind that.’
The cop has since been removed from his specialized unit and reassigned to a new role.
In an open letter Niski wrote: ‘It was determined that the comments were made off-duty out of frustration and there was no indication of any physical action or intent to cause harm.
‘I am in no way minimizing Sergeant Wrede’s words.
‘His comments were unacceptable, have damaged our relationship with members of our community, and fell short of our standards.’
But despite acknowledging numerous calls for Wrede to be fired, Niski said: ‘While his statements were harmful and reprehensible, I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment.’