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US state police chief punished over NFL protest criticism

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LANDOVER, MD – OCTOBER 15: Eli Harold #57, Arik Armstead #91 and K’Waun Williams #24 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem before a game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on October 15, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. Joe Robbins/Getty Images/AFP

The governor of Michigan punished his police chief Thursday over a Facebook post calling football players who protest by refusing to stand during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates.”

The midwestern state’s top cop Kriste Etue last month waded into a public spat between US President Donald Trump and NFL players who kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

She shared a post from a Facebook user calling protesting football players “millionaire ingrates who hate America,” and “a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates.”

The governor’s decision to dock a week’s pay fell short of calls to fire Etue.

“Colonel Etue posted something on social media that was inappropriate,” the state’s Republican governor Rick Snyder said.

“I have full faith in Col. Etue’s leadership,” Snyder added. “I hope we can come together… and find common ground, rather than rehash past mistakes.”

Etue has apologized, but critics — including African-American state legislators and community activists — have been unconvinced, calling for her firing or resignation.

The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus said Etue’s ability to lead the state’s police department had been compromised.

“Her posting speaks to how she feels about tax-paying citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights,” legislator Vincent Gregory, who was once a police officer, said last month.

“With a belief such as this, how can we… trust the director of the State Police to run the department without bias?”


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