COLORADO SPRINGS – The Colorado Springs Police Department has disciplined an officer accused of calling for protesters to be killed in comments during a live social media broadcast.
Police Chief Vince Niski wrote in a letter to the community Monday that Sgt. Keith Wrede was suspended for 40 hours, removed from his specialized unit and reassigned to a different position within the department.
News channel KRDO-TV notified the department that it received a tip about commentary posted during a video stream of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the city on June 30. Demonstrators blocked Interstate 25 for about 30 minutes while calling for an end to racial injustice and police brutality.
The tip alleged a Colorado Springs police sergeant used the pseudonym Steven Eric when posting comments including, “KILL THEM ALL.” Another post on the Facebook page included photos of the protest and called the Black Lives Matter organization a “terrorist.”
The Facebook account has since been deleted, and a phone number for Wrede could not be found Monday.
“We offer our organizational humility and a heartfelt apology to our entire community,” Niski wrote in the letter. “Please make no mistake that I do not condone his actions, or attempt to minimize the severity of harm it has done in a time of rebuilding between law enforcement and the community.”
He pushed back on calls to fire Wrede, saying the sergeant has professionally served the community for 20 years, and the post was “an isolated incident of an error in judgment.”
Wrede’s suspension resulted in about $2,000 in lost wages.