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MSP Colonel Etue to give up five days’ pay after Facebook post

Michigan State Police Kriste Etue will work five days without pay after Governor Rick Snyder decided that will be the penalty for a controversial Facebook post.

Colonel Etue shared a Facebook meme that called NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates” and “millionaire ingrates.” She quickly took it down, and apologized, but still came under a storm of criticism.

The governor continues to resist calls for her to step down. From a statement released by his office:  

“I have full faith in Col. Etue’s leadership as the commander of the Michigan State Police, which I believe to be the best law enforcement body in the nation. 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."

He also said is an opportunity to restore civility when dealing with controversial issues:

“I have long advocated for more civility in politics and in life in general. We have an opportunity for Michigan to be a model in restoring civility and showing people how we can work together, and I intend on taking advantage of that opportunity.

The governor also ordered every department in state government to review their practices to ensure cultural awareness and sensitivity. He also ordered new initiatives to instruct law enforcement officers and recruits about fair policing practices.

But critics were not happy with the punishment. State Representative Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint), chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus called the governor’s decision “tone deaf.”

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

“This administration continues to ignore the fact that Col. Etue’s post has seriously damaged her credibility and compromised her leadership," he said.

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.