LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday called for the resignation or firing of the head of the State Police for sharing a Facebook post calling NFL players who protest during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates.”
The caucus, which is comprised of 22 Democratic legislators, said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue — who has apologized — can no longer be trusted to fulfill her duties in an objective and unbiased manner. Liberal activists and at least one Democratic gubernatorial candidate have also called for her ouster.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will not ask her to step down, spokeswoman Anna Heaton said.
“The colonel said she made a mistake and publicly apologized,” she said. “She has served with distinction as an outstanding public servant for decades.”
The post Etue shared on Sunday, which was signed “we the people,” calls the protesting players “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans.” It also called them “rich, entitled, ungrateful.”
The post angered lawmakers, especially in Detroit, where a state police trooper last month fired a Taser at a teenager in a chase before the 15-year-old crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died.
State Sen. Vincent Gregory, a Southfield Democrat and former sheriff’s detective, said during a contentious state Senate debate that law enforcement officers are “held to a higher standard” and Etue must meet “an even higher standard.”
“We have now a colonel, the leader of the state police, that has now shown a distinct bias toward a group of citizens in the state of Michigan,” he said. “So my question is, ‘How can she continue to do this job when she’s shown a bias?'”
But Republicans defended Etue.
State Sen. Rick Jones, a former sheriff from Grand Ledge, said Etue has worked to recruit more women and minority troopers. He said the meme she shared was on her private Facebook page and that she has the same First Amendment rights as the protesting players.
Republican state Sen. Patrick Colbeck, of Canton Township, called Etue “a woman of honor, integrity” and urged NFL players to not “protest a symbol of our unity.”
The taking of a knee during the national anthem was started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to draw attention to social inequality and police treatment of blacks. No team signed Kaepernick last offseason, which many believe is because of the stand he has taken.
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