The Springfield, Mass., Police Department fired one of their officers, Conrad Lariviere, for comments he made in the aftermath of the deadly Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally that killed one person and injured 19 others.
As Vice News reports, on Aug. 13, a day after the protests, Lariviere responded to a breaking news post about a neo-Nazi sympathizer who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters with “Hahahaha love this. Maybe people shouldn’t block roads.”
The post drew widespread outrage once word got out that Lariviere was a cop, prompting Springfield police to launch an internal investigation. Commissioner John Barbieri announced the final result—Lariviere’s termination—Friday, more than three months after Lariviere posted the incendiary comments.
“It will take us months, if not years, to earn back the level of public trust we once had,” Barbieri said. “It’s never easy to terminate a fellow officer, and I take no comfort in doing so.”
Lariviere has apologized for mocking the death of Heather Heyer but not before swearing that he was “a good man who made a stupid comment and would just like to be left alone,” as he told the site MassLive on Aug. 14—a day after posting his comment. He also told the site, “I am not a racist and don’t believe in what any of those protesters are doing.”
In a move that will shock absolutely no one who is familiar with police unions, Springfield’s local police union said they were disappointed in Lariviere’s firing. They cited a lack of a social media policy, arguing that Lariviere made the comments as a private citizen, and thus his Facebook post was protected speech.
In a page taken straight out of the Donald Trump playbook for excusing white supremacy, the police union said that Lariviere’s point “was that such disorderly behavior has serious consequences, and both sides of the dispute bore responsible for the disruptions.”
The union expects that Lariviere will appeal the decision.
Read more at Vice News.