LANSING (WWJ) – The embattled head of the Michigan State Police is facing disciplinary action after sharing a Facebook post that called some NFL players “anti-American degenerates.”
Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue on Sunday shared a Facebook post signed “we the people.” It calls NFL players who kneel during the national anthem “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans.” It also calls them “rich, entitled, ungrateful.”
The post was private and could only be seen by those connected to Etue’s Facebook page but it upset some of the department’s black troopers, along with several activists and civil rights groups who called for her resignation.
Gov. Rick Snyder said he would not fire Etue, who promptly removed the post and issued an apology “to anyone who was offended.”
Many thought Etue was off the hook, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“It looks as though Colonel Etue will face what’s called internal discipline. This could be anywhere from a five-day suspension to a written reprimand for her posting on Facebook,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick.
State police haven’t yet commented on any disciplinary actions against Etue, but Skubick says she apparently violated a department policy.
“Here’s the departmental policy, quote, ‘Members are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their postings do not impair working relationships, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negativity effect the public perception of the department,'” said Skubick. “Obviously, internally they concluded that she has violated that policy and a spokesperson says basically there will be discipline. We’re waiting to see what that is.”
The full message Etue posted 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 nations has EVERY impact on our lives. We stand with the Heroes, not a bunch of rich, entitles, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates. Signed, We the People.”
The post angered lawmakers, especially in Detroit, where a white state police trooper last month fired a Taser at an unarmed black 15-year-old, Damon Grimes, during a chase before the teen crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died.
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?'”
The ACLU of Michigan said Etue “undermined her leadership and may have irreparably damaged MSP’s relationship with communities of color.”
But Republicans have defended Etue.
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.
Sen. Patrick Colbeck, a Canton Township Republican who is running for governor, 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.
Etue, the first female director of the State Police, has led the nearly 3,000-employee agency since 2011, when Snyder appointed her.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.