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Snyder says he will not fire police chief over Facebook post

Michigan State Police

Governor Rick Snyder says there is no reason to fire State Police Colonel Kriste Etue over a controversial Facebook post. Etue has apologized for sharing a meme on her page that called NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem unpatriotic and “degenerates.”

Snyder says the post was “inappropriate,” but he considers the matter settled.

“She came out and apologized, and she’s done great service for the state,” he said. “The way I view it is people make mistakes, she recognizes that, and let’s keep moving forward.”

However, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus called the apology weak and says Etue should resign or be removed.

Black Caucus Chair Representative Sheldon Neeley issued this statement:

“It is clear that Col. Etue does not understand the nature of the protests, nor respect the constitutional rights of citizens to peacefully protest. This calls into question her ability and objectivity to lead the men and women in her department who are charged with not just enforcing laws, but also protecting and serving all communities, regardless of race or ethnicity. I have an incredible amount of respect for our men and women in uniform who work hard to protect the people of our state, but such uninformed and disrespectful comments are inexcusable and erode the trust between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect.”

Etue also has defenders in the Legislature. Republican state Senator Rick Jones says she has no reason to apologize.

“She has the same First Amendment rights as do the players who take a knee during the national anthem,” said Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), a former county sheriff.

The dust-up comes as the MSP is trying to recruit more minorities to its ranks. The department has also been sued for denying jobs and promotions to minorities.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.