Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has said that he has no plans to fire the Michigan State Police director who came under fire this week after making a post on Facebook criticizing protesting NFL players and calling them “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans.”
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue made the offensive post on Sunday, and calls for her to be fired were widespread and immediate. The Detroit Free Press reports that there were also talks of demonstrations to take place in Detroit and Lansing as well as calls for all Michigan State Police troopers to be pulled out of Detroit.
By Tuesday night, Etue, who has headed the state police since 2011, had apologized for her actions—both publicly on Facebook and privately via email to state police employees.
Free Press reports that Anna Heaton, Snyder’s spokeswoman, defended Etue and said that she “said she made a mistake and publicly apologized” after serving “with distinction as an outstanding public servant for decades.”
“The governor will not be asking her to resign,” Heaton said.
State Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), who is chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said in a news release that Etue’s Facebook post makes “clear that Col. Etue does not understand the nature of the protests, nor respect the First Amendment rights of protesters.”
“This calls into question her ability and objectivity to lead the men and women in her department who are charged with not just enforcing laws, but also protecting and serving people of color,” Neeley said.
The Legislative Black Caucus has joined others calling for Etue to resign or be fired: the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; Progress Michigan, a liberal group; and the Michigan National Action Network, an arm of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s national organization.
The Rev. Charles Williams, who is president of the Michigan National Action Network in Detroit, told Free Press that there will be a meeting Saturday morning between his organization and other organizations and activists to plan their protest strategy against Etue and the state of Michigan.
“We have an 85 percent-African-American city here, and we already have issues with the police,” Williams told the Free Press. “In this kind of environment she’s promoting in the department, we don’t need those police in this community. They need to go.”
Read more at the Detroit Free Press.