Michigan State Police head under fire over NFL protest post

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Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday called for the resignation or firing of the head of the State Police for sharing a Facebook post calling NFL players who protest during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates.”

The caucus, which is comprised of 22 Democratic legislators, said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue — who has apologized — can no longer be trusted to fulfill her duties in an objective and unbiased manner. Liberal activists and at least one Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Abdul El-Sayed, also called for her ouster.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will not ask her to step down, spokeswoman Anna Heaton said.

“The colonel said she made a mistake and publicly apologized,” she said. “She has served with distinction as an outstanding public servant for decades.”

The post Etue shared on Sunday, which was signed “we the people,” calls the protesting players “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans.” It also calls them “rich, entitled, ungrateful.”

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?'”

But Republicans 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.”

Yet in an impassioned response, Sen. Coleman Young II, a Detroit Democrat, said residents are “incensed” by police actions such as those leading to the death of Grimes. Trooper Mark Bessmer is accused of firing a Taser at Grimes from his patrol car after the teen — suspected of driving his ATV illegally on the road — refused to stop. The teen crashed the ATV and died.

“These are our babies, these are our children,” Young said. “A job as a man, as a parent is to make sure that your child makes it and becomes what he wants to be. That’s why we’re protesting. That’s why we’re fighting because we believe in the American spirit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’re not protesting the flag.”

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.

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  • steve

    The Black Caucus wants this . The Black Caucus wants that. The Black Caucus will never be satisfied regardless of how she’s gone and she’s replaced by a black individual that they approve of.

  • Kevin Rahe

    If you believe that someone is not upholding the American ideals Sen. Coleman Young II speaks of, then you should chide THEM for standing for the national anthem and saluting the flag because they’re not worthy. Failing to stand and salute the flag YOURSELF, however, makes it look like YOU’RE not willing to uphold America’s ideals, or worse, are attacking them.

  • Old Bob

    I am surprised Fox is still letting people post on this subject. They aren’t letting people post their opinion on this

    Widow of ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle tells NFL players to ‘get off their knees’

  • Kevin Rahe

    The NFL claims that the protests aren’t about the flag and our national anthem (i.e. the ideals our country is built on). But that hasn’t stopped people on both sides from finding that that is indeed what the protests are about. If you’re going to protest something, make sure that the scope of your protest isn’t wider than the issue you’re protesting.


    I feel this has gone too far. First – Trump should never commented on this – he started this whole mess.
    Second – I think its time to put others first. Remember the song as kids “Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world Red brown yellow black or white they are precious in His sight Jesus loves the children of the world”
    Bottom line is what is in your heart. Standing, sitting, kneeling – this is what you see but God sees your heart.

  • J.B.

    What, She doesn’t have a first amendment right to her own viewpoint?
    But these idiots who don’t even know what they are supposedly protesting do?
    This pathetic PC double standard is really starting show its true stripes now…
    And oddly enough, it is a lot more racially motivated than the supposed racism problem that they are protesting!
    Mentally stunted hypocrites..One and all.

  • Jim Rogers

    I like her she is right. SHe has freedom of speech on Facebook. WHat good are rights outside of the workplace if you cant use them? Think about it! The NFL morons staged a anti american orotest ON THE JOB, and did not lose THIER job? WHat Hypocrisy! I am born again christian. Guess I will get in trouble in saying I stand for that. No apologies HERE!

  • Jessie

    I see the moderators have removed all of the comments that they did not agree with.
    This is why no one trusts or likes the media anymore.