Published October 20, 2017
The director of the Michigan State Police will lose five days of pay for sharing a post on her personal Facebook page that called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates,” the state’s governor said Thursday.
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue came under fire after she shared a meme on Sept. 24 that read: “Dear NFL: We will not support millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our Armed Forces and Veterans. Who wins a football game has zero impact on our lives. Who fights for and defends our nation has every impact on our lives. We stand with the heroes, not a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates.”
Etue apologized after the backlash that followed. But she has not publicly explained why she shared the meme.
Michigan Gov. Rich Snyder had already said he was not going to fire Etue, who is white and earns $165,000 a year. Etue must still work during the five days she will not be paid.
"Colonel Etue posted something on social media that was inappropriate. The colonel has served honorably as an enlisted trooper for 30 years, and I hope we can come together as Michiganders to move forward and find common ground, rather than rehash past mistakes," Snyder said.
Etue’s punishment was criticized by some, including Rev. Charles Williams, the president of the National Action Network in Detroit.
Williams told the Detroit Free Press he was going to ask the city’s mayor, Mike Duggan, to cut their links with the Michigan State Police.
“For her to be able to say what she did is for her to discount why we’re taking a knee against police brutality and she’s the head of a statewide police force,” Williams said. “We have to ask ourselves: If this was an anti-Semitic statement she made, would she still be working today? The governor didn’t have the guts to do the right thing.”
Republican State Sen. Rick Jones believed the punishment was “too harsh” and Snyder “has gone to the extreme,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
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.
The Facebook post came at a sensitive time for state police. The department said it would stop high-speed pursuits in Detroit, except in cases of serious crime, after a white trooper who was inside his patrol car shot a black teenager with a Taser. The boy crashed his vehicle and died. The trooper has resigned and is subject of a criminal investigation.
Snyder announced Thursday that he has ordered a review of trooper recruit practices and the standards for admission. He also said a group would recommend policies on the private use of social media by state employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.