July 23 (UPI) -- Two Louisiana police officers have lost their jobs after one of them suggested on social media that congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be shot, authorities said.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson told reporters Monday officer Charlie Rispoli, a 14-year veteran, was fired for sharing an article on his Facebook page about the freshman New York lawmaker and calling her a "vile idiot" who "needs a [bullet]." Officer Angel Varisco was terminated for "liking" the post, he added.
Both officers violated the department's social media policy, Lawson said, adding that the social media post and the national attention "has been an embarrassment."
"These officers have certainly acted in a manner which was unprofessional, alluding to a violent act to be conducted against a sitting U.S. [congresswoman], a member of our government. We are not going to tolerate that," he said.
The outspoken Ocasio-Cortez has received substantial criticism from political conservatives and President Donald Trump over her statements and actions to condemn the U.S. government's treatment of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump has denounced her and three other female lawmakers of color, saying in one tweet he doesn't think they are capable of "loving our country." Another said they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came."
Ocasio-Cortez said Rispoli's remarks on Facebook is a reflection of Trump, "when he uses targeted language and threatens elected officials who don't agree with his political agenda."
"It's authoritarian behavior," she tweeted. "The president is sowing violence. He's creating an environment where people can get hurt and he claims plausible deniability."
The firings in Louisiana follow similar incidents at other police departments. Seventy-two Philadelphia officers and nearly 60 in St. Louis were removed last month due to questionable social media activity. Thirteen in Philadelphia were suspended this month for posts advocating violence, Commissioner Richard Ross said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also investigating 62 former and current employees connected to a Facebook group that involved derogatory content, some of which was directed at Ocasio-Cortez.