A Massachusetts police officer is under investigation by his department after he sparked outrage by allegedly posting a series of Facebook comments making fun of the Aug. 12 domestic terrorist attack that injured at least 19 people and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer during a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn't block road ways," Springfield officer Conrad Lariviere commented on conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro's Facebook link to a news article about 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. plowing his car into a crowd of protesters, according to a screenshot from MassLive.
Fields has since been connected to a number of white supremacist groups, but Lariviere went on to ask: "How do you know [Fields] was a nazi scumbag?" and told other commenters to "stop being part of the problem."
Lariviere reportedly also clicked the "love" reaction on the article.
"Are you serious?" somebody commented below Lariviere's statement. "A person DIED. 19 other people were injured, some badly."
Another commenter asked Lariviere how many times a car has plowed into him, while a subsequent one said simply: "You are an idiot."
"Actually ... I've been hit by a s**tbag with warrants but who cares right you ignorant brat live in fantasy land with the rest of American while I deal With the real danger," Lariviere responded.
A number of community members were outraged by the comment from the police patrolman.
"I just got done issuing a statement this morning on how upsetting the tragic incidents were in Charlottesville, Virginia and one of our own officers does this?" Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said in an Aug. 13 statement. "Unbelievable! There is no place for this in our society, let alone from a Springfield Police Officer."
Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri said that he received an email complaint about Lariviere's post.
"I took immediate steps to initiate a prompt and thorough internal investigation," Barbieri said in an email. "If in fact this post did originate from an officer employed with the Springfield Police Department, this matter will be reviewed by the Community Police Hearings Board for further action."
Lariviere responded to the backlash by telling MassLive in a Facebook message that he regrets making "a stupid comment about people blocking streets."
"Never would I want someone to get murdered," he added. "I am not a racist and don't believe in what any of those protesters are doing. I'm a good man who made a stupid comment and would just like to be left alone."
A similar incident in Shively, Kentucky, saw officer Morris Rinehardt find himself on administrative leave pending an internal investigation after he also reportedly joked on social media about the attack, according to the Courier-Journal.