USA state police chief punished over National Football League protest criticism

Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue

Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue

Democratic Sen. Vincent Gregory, who met with Etue and had wanted her to resign, told the Detroit Free Press that Snyder was taking the right steps by addressing cultural issues in the government.

Colonel Kriste Etue posted a popular meme on her personal Facebook page in late September that called the NFL national anthem kneelers "anti-American degenerates".

Etue has twice apologized - once on the MSP Facebook page on September 26 and again to reporters at the Capitol on October 5 - for sharing a Facebook post that disparaged as "anti-American degenerates" NFL players who kneel or sit during the pregame national anthem to protest racism and police killings of unarmed black men.

Snyder, in announcing the review of state government culture, said: "I have long advocated for more civility in politics and in life in general" and "we have an opportunity for MI to be a model in restoring civility and showing people how we can work together".

Colonel Etue shared a Facebook meme that called NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem "anti-American degenerates" and "millionaire ingrates".

Snyder, who appointed Etue in 2011, said she still must work while her salary is suspended for five days. Etue still must work during the five days.

The fall out also came at a time when the department is under scrutiny and facing protests in the death of 15-year-old Damon Grimes, who died in August after a state trooper deployed a Taser at the teen through a police-vehicle window during a pursuit, in direct violation of police protocol.

Neeley said Etue should have been fired or at least moved to a non-management role in the department.

Talk about a change in the culture of state government overall is merely window-dressing, Reed said, because the environment fostered by MSP leadership allowed the August 26 crash death that resulted from the MSP taser shooting, he said. The trooper has resigned and is the subject of a criminal investigation. Michigan ACLU executive director Kary Moss demanded Etue's resignation because in reposting a message she demonstrated "a complete disregard for these constitutional principles and the highly relevant concerns of athletes who are protesting".

The governor said a group will recommend policies on the private use of social media by state employees. We have an opportunity for MI to be a model in restoring civility and showing people how we can work together, and I intend on taking advantage of that opportunity.

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