Coalition: Michigan State Police head must resign for calling kneeling athletes 'degenerates'

click to enlarge Singer Rico Lavelle kneels while singing the national anthem in solidarity with athletes like Colin Kaepernick, who are protesting police brutality. - SCREENSHOT
Screenshot
Singer Rico Lavelle kneels while singing the national anthem in solidarity with athletes like Colin Kaepernick, who are protesting police brutality.

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is calling for the resignation of the Michigan State Police director who took to Facebook this week to denigrate professional athletes who kneel during the national anthem.

On Sunday, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue called NFL players who participate in the gesture, which began as a protest of police brutality against blacks, "millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our armed forces and veterans" and "a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates."


Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue.
The post has since been deleted and Etue has apologized.

"It was a mistake to share this message on Facebook and I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended," Etue said in a Tuesday night Facebook post on the Michigan State Police page. "I will continue my focus on the unity at the Michigan State Police and in communities across Michigan."

But for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, an apology is not enough. Coalition president Sandra Hines describes Etue's statement as revealing a clear and dangerous bias.

"We cannot let our leaders, especially in law enforcement, let their biases drive their decision making," said Hines. "That kind of talk and those sentiments only lead to an escalation of problems when law enforcement officers encounter the public."

Col. Etue's friends-only Facebook post came on Sunday, when many many NFL players, coaches, and owners kneeled or locked arms in a show of solidarity against the president. In Detroit, singer Rico Lavelle kneeled while singing the national anthem. Lions owner Martha Ford also issued a statement supporting for the players' right to protest.

RELATED Detroit Lions owner and player condemn Trump's divisive NFL remarks

Earlier in the weekend, Donald Trump had taken aim at athletes who participate in the demonstration, suggesting that NFL owners should respond by saying, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!"

Etue took aim at athletes who protest police brutality against black people as MSP faces continued criticism for a trooper's killing of a black 15-year-old in Detroit last month. The boy, who was riding an ATV, was killed when a trooper used a taser on him during a pursuit. It's against MSP policy to deploy a taser from a moving vehicle. It later emerged that the trooper had twice been accused of using excessive force in lawsuits that were dismissed in 2014 and 2016.

About The Authors

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.