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‘Kill Them All’: Colorado Officer Suspended but Not Fired After Violent Posts Aimed at Black Lives Matter Protesters

Sergeant Keith Wrede
Sergeant Keith Wrede
Photo: Colorado Springs Police Department

Can police departments really say they’re making an earnest effort to weed out the violent, corrupt and racist police officers in their units if they aren’t willing to immediately fire those who say or post things online that indicate that they are extrajudicial execution cases waiting to happen?

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A Colorado Springs police officer thought he was masking his identity when he used a pseudonym to post—on more than one occasion—the words “KILL THEM ALL” in response to stories about Black Lives Matter protesters. After an investigation identified the officer behind the posts, he was suspended...but not fired.

CBS Denver reports that Sergeant Keith Wrede made the comments on June 30. The first comment was made in response to a livestream of a Black Lives Matter protest where demonstrators blocked an interstate for over an hour. Most of the protesters reportedly had already left by the time police arrived, so it’s unclear what prompted an allegedly stable and professional law enforcement officer to respond to the story by virtually shouting, “KILL THEM ALL.” On a related post, Wrede repeated the sentiment by commenting “KILL EM ALL” while using a Facebook profile under the name Steven Eric. An internal affairs investigation found that Wrede was behind both posts and he was later suspended for five days, made to give up more than $2,000 in wages and reassigned from his specialized unit to a different position in the department.

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CSPD Chief Vince Niski wrote a letter to the public Monday expressing his solidarity with those outraged by Wrede’s online behavior—calling his comments “unprofessional, distasteful, and not reflective of our department”—but also defending his decision not to fire him.

“It was determined,” Niski wrote, “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.”

“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,” he continued. “We hope that you can accept our apology and be assured that the CSPD and Sgt. Wrede will continue to faithfully serve the public.”

Note: If you’re going to apologize to people concerned about police violence, maybe don’t refer to a cop who probably fantasizes about going full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on anyone in a BLM shirt as a “good police officer” you’re unwilling to “deprive” the people of.

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Niski should have followed what one North Carolina police department did after catching a few of their cops fantasizing about killing Black people. About a week before Wrede was caught expressing his willingness to re-enact the climax scenes from Smoking Aces on protesters blocking highways, a Wilmington, N.C., sergeant discovered a nearly two-hour-long recording from a patrol car created by an “accidental activation” where three officers were caught conversing at length about how they “can’t wait” for a civil war to break out so they can “slaughter” Black people. Those officers were immediately fired because bruh, what if they stayed on the job and later actually did the shit they were wet dreaming about?

How silly will the CSPD look if Sgt. Wrede ends up starring in the next viral video where an unarmed Black person is killed by a cop turned executioner?

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I’m going to go ahead and paraphrase Maya Angelou and say, “When a cop shows you who they are, you damn sure better believe them the first time because them mother fuckers got guns and badges and will ‘KILL THEM ALL.’”

I’m just saying, there are some cops the streets need to be “deprived” of.


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Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment,

Not at all clear that firing this guy would deprive the community of a good police officer.