Colorado Springs Sgt. Keith Wrede suspended over ‘KILL THEM ALL’ BLM protesters comment. Department defends the officer despite calls to have him fired.
Colorado Springs Sgt. Keith Wrede disguised his identity and used a pseudonym on Facebook to post, ‘KILL THEM ALL’ and ‘KILL EM ALL’ in response to a local ABC affiliate’s video of the protest on June 30, the officer’s department announced Monday.
Following review, Wrede was suspended for 40 hours, leading to the cop losing more than $2,000 in wages. After two decades on the force, Wrede was also kicked off his specialized unit and reassigned to a different position, CSPD Chief Vince Niski wrote in an open letter.
‘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,’ Niski said.
‘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.’
Holding police accountable
The comments which seemingly betray a police officer’s ethos, ‘to protect them all,’ followed a segment relaying protesters who’d been blocking traffic highway as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration, according to the local CBS affiliate.
Wrede’s ouster came after a tipster outed Wrede as man who wrote the comments under the Facebook account with the name ‘Steven Eric,’ according to Niski.
An investigation was launched ‘immediately’ and the office was ‘able to quickly determine Sergeant Wrede’s involvement’ in penning the messages, Niski added.
The chief went on to call the comments ‘unprofessional, distasteful, and not reflective of our department,’ but opted against firing Wrede after considering his record at the department as a ‘good police officer.’
Disappointing to see Sgt Keith Wrede still employed with @CSPDPIO When an officer uses a burner account and says “Kill them all” to BLM and only gets a slap on the wrist ($2k fine and switch department) it seriously damages the trust of the public. https://t.co/DQWrQlgD68
— Visionaire E (@Air_RickJ) August 12, 2020
A good officer with a bad attitude…a good officer whose sentiments betray the role he is employed to carry out on behalf of the public.
‘Please remember officers are human too and make mistakes. Throughout his 20-year career, Sergeant Wrede has professionally served this community,’ the chief stressed in his open letter. ‘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.’