Springfield Police Department Officer Aaron Paul Nichols, 46, resigned following the surfacing of a multitude of racist and white supremacist social media posts, reported Huffington Post. Anonymous Comrades Collective (ACC), first exposed him leading to an investigation by his own department.
Per HuffPost’s report, Nichols had made posts about killing Black and Jewish people, written racial slurs in his messages, made several white supremacist references and even wrote that Hitler “did nothing wrong.”
“N–gers ruin everything. Even if it’s White doing the stealing they’re likely selling the meat to blaq [sic] run restaurants or trading it to niggers for dope. Real talk,” read one post via HuffPost.
More on the investigation from HuffPost:
Nichols was first identified last Thursday by ACC, the group of researchers that tracks down white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The group previously helped HuffPost in its report first identifying Andrew Casarez, the leader of a Dylann Roof-worshipping neo-Nazi group.
Nichols left a trail of breadcrumbs leading to his unmasking, including sharing details about his family, his time in the police force and his location. Several racist posts on Twitter under the account name “SPD584” were traced to a Periscope account with the same handle, and which included his full legal name. Researchers were able to connect the Twitter account to an account on the far-right social media website Gab with the same name. On Gab, where extremism and hate speech proliferate, Nichols shared a photo of his partially obscured face in one of his anonymous posts.
Over three dozen Illinois legislators wrote a letter calling for an investigation into Nichols, reported The State Journal-Register. The Springfield Police Department complied in launching an investigation. However, the department told HuffPost Nichols resigned instead of meeting with investigators.
President of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP Teresa Haley said Nichols’ resignation was to protect his pension and argues Nichols should be decertified as an officer. “We’re still going to pursue those things. He is an officer of the law. He is supposed to serve and protect our community and not hurt or harm or have people fearful,” said Haley via The State Journal-Register.