This week Colorado Springs police chief Vince Niski defended not firing officer Sergeant Keith Wrede (pictured above) after it was revealed that Wrede had regularly commented “KILL THEM ALL!” on social media videos and posts about Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters.
On June 30, Wrede wrote the comment on a livestream video of a BLM demonstrators blocking an interstate for over an hour. Most of the protestors in the video left by the time the police arrived. Wreded made an identical comment on a second post using a sockpuppet account under the alias Steven Eric.
Wrede was suspended for five days, had to forgo over $2,000 in wages and then was reassigned from his specialized unit to a different departmental position.
But while Niski wrote in public letter on Monday that he found Wrede’s comments “unprofessional, distasteful, and not reflective of our department”, he defended his decision not to fire him.
“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,” Niski wrote.
“While his statements were harmful and reprehensible,” Niski continued, “I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment. We hope that you can accept our apology and be assured that the CSPD and Sgt. Wrede will continue to faithfully serve the public.”
Considering that Wrede publicly voiced a desire to kill all Black racial justice protesters peacefully demonstration their First Amendment rights to free speech while opposing system racism and police brutality, we’re not sure why the public, Black people and other citizens of Colorado Springs should feel assured that Wrede will treat them fairly.
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