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CSPD officer disciplined for ‘KILL EM ALL’ comments toward protesters

steven-eric-on-livestream

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Police officer who said "KILL EM ALL" on a KRDO live stream of protesters on Interstate 25 has been identified as Sgt. Keith Wrede, and he'll be disciplined with a suspension and reassignment to a different position in the department.

Wrede used a pseudonym, Steven Eric, to post several comments on a Facebook Live post that showed Black Lives Matter protesters blocking the northbound lanes of I-25.

In the comments section, Wrede wrote "KILL EM ALL" and "KILL THEM ALL" within a five-minute period.

That protest happened on June 30, and we learned on July 6 that an internal affairs investigation was underway into the comments. CSPD told KRDO when the investigation was started that "the alleged comments were inappropriate and unprofessional and do not reflect the values of the Colorado Springs Police Department." Wrede was placed on suspension with pay while the investigation was conducted, according to CSPD.

CSPD Chief Vince Niski said Monday, "We offer our organizational humility and a heartfelt apology to our entire community. Please make no mistake that I do not condone his actions, or attempt to minimize the severity of harm it has done in a time of rebuilding between law enforcement and the community."

CSPD says that Wrede's chain of command "made the decision to issue a discipline of a 40 hour suspension (which results in approximately $2,044 in lost wages), the removal from his specialized unit, and reassignment to a different position within the department."

The account was deleted shortly before our first report was published, but the account had been tagged in at least one photo of Wrede when he earned a Medal of Valor from CSPD last year.

In an interview with a commander about the incident, Wrede admitted that he shouldn't have made the comments, even if they were from a private account.

"This was an off-duty incident at my house, on my computer, under an assumed identity that I thought was pretty private and fairly locked down," Wrede said in an interview with a CSPD commander that was released to the public Monday. "Clearly it was not. It doesn’t matter how private it was anyway. The statement shouldn't have been made. This does not at all reflect in my performance at work. It doesn’t reflect the fact that I've been, you know, nearly 20 years without an incident."

Wrede has been with CSPD for decades, and he even made KRDO headlines back in 2015 when he and a doctor helped a family deliver a baby on the side of I-25.

However, Wrede was also involved in the June 1 arrest of a protester that prompted an investigation by internal affairs. We reported when the protester, Justin Salmons, was held down by multiple CSPD officers and struck several times. Official narratives given by CSPD officers say Salmons ignored commands to get on the ground before a passerby caught video of his arrest.

Warning: Viewer discretion is advised for language.

Officers reported that they found a knife on Salmons, and Wrede said in a police report obtained by ProPublica that he only held Salmons down and didn't strike him or use any type of "less than lethal tool" against him. The status of that investigation isn't clear at this time.

After our report, protests had erupted after Wrede's comments calling for him to be fired from the department. A summary report of the investigation says that Wreade's initial posts "potentially put citizens and officers in danger" because of further protest activities.

In response, Chief Niski said that he is aware of "misconceptions" regarding the investigation.

"We have heard concerns from many community members and are also aware of misinformation or misconceptions regarding our role and response to this investigation. I would like to first start by addressing the demand for termination. These requests were for immediate termination before our investigation was even completed. While I understand frustrations, Sergeant Wrede, just like our community members, are afforded due process whenever any type of investigation takes place," Niski said in a statement.

The internal affairs investigation report was verified by Deputy Chief Pat Rigdon. The report found that Wrede violated policies on police officer conduct and social media usage, but there wasn't a violation of "fair and impartial policing" because the comments were made while Wrede was off duty.

Rigdon wrote in his summary that he believes Wrede should stay with the department because he "still has a lot to bring to the organization and the community in the form of experience, resilience, and even leadership." Rigdon said he believes Wreade is truly remorseful and didn't intend to act on his comments, and it's his hope that the discipline imposed "will modify his behavior and cause him to be more reflective on his actions and the consequences that they have."

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Colorado Springs / Local News

Andrew McMillan

Andrew is the Digital Content Director for KRDO.com. Learn more about Andrew here.

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

29 Comments

    1. Aaawwww…poor widdle baby having a bad feels? Then does that mean you think all the marxist, looting, murdering, rioters and street and highway blockers should be allowed to do all their destruction without consequence? Because I and most of America think they should be knocked unconscious or tazed and dragged off by their feet to the nearest jail. Across a very bumpy road.

      1. You hardly speak for “most of America.” Defending a desire to kill statement with a desire to harm statement. What a perfect example of your moniker.

        1. You may think your faux outrage du jour ongoing for the past 4 years, escalating to the point of very dangerous, murderous, anarchist and destructive rioting, is popular with and supported by the average citizen, but you would be very wrong. The average citizen of this country just wants to live in peace, going off to work each day and coming home to a family, w/o having to deal with a mob of rioting, rock-throwing zombies or having his road home blocked by a horde of screaming morons.
          .
          When you mistakenly think you’re insulting me, you are actually so dumbly giving me a compliment. That’s a very popular meme on hundreds of discussion boards. It’s a badge, and a statement of honor. I’m a proud American Citizen and for that reason I am a Trump supporter, who is the very best President we’ve ever had. So, thank you.

      2. @ Imadeplorable You don’t represent my views….arrest them, put em on trial but we dont kill em all. and if you think we should then YOU are the problem!!

        1. I did not suggest killing anyone. And I would not condone that. I DID suggest dragging them all off to jail….however none too gently. And Officer Wrede obviously made a very bad joke. This incident is a perfect example of the current outrage culture gripping our country. So glad for you and all your bros and sis’s to have a chance to vent about today’s happy meal outrage du jour.

  1. so if we post
    KILL THWM KILL THEM ALL
    on the CSPD FB page, all day and night-there shouldn’t be any repercussions.

    1. So, if you’re on the highway on your way home from a 12-hr workday, or on your way to visit your dying son in the hospital, and get stopped by a mob of morons illegally blocking the highway and pretending to be doing something important and relevant, you’ll just smile and get out of your car and join them, won’t you?

      1. no not my train of thought at all. Those idjuts blocking the freeway should have been rounded up, had their cars seized permanently, I can’t even type here how I feel about the whole “Who Matter” ball of crap. But, if you read the officer’s take, he has created a complete separate Identity in order to send out disruptive dissenting messages to create more evidence. You have to consider his intent and lack of moral turpitude. How long has he been doing this in the interest os anonymously stirring up trouble?

  2. One of the few good ones. I didn’t know CSPD had a fair and impartial policing policy. I know of dozens of them that should be fired!

  3. So Sgt. Keith Wrede was a leader of several other men and women in a specialized unit and felt that the statements of “Kill EM All” and “Kill THEM All” properly reflected the Colorado Spring’s Law Enforcement’s Code of Ethics.

    “As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and
    property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation,
    and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men
    to liberty, equality and justice.
    I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all; maintain courageous calm in the face
    of danger, scorn or ridicule; develop self-restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of
    others. Honest in thought and deed in both my personal and official life, I will be exemplary in
    obeying the laws of the land and the regulations of my Department. Whatever I see or hear of a
    confidential nature, or that is confided to me in my official capacity, will be kept ever secret
    unless revelation is necessary in the performance of my duty.
    I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to
    influence my decisions. With no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of
    criminals, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or
    ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities.
    I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust, to
    be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the police service. I will constantly strive to achieve
    these objectives and ideals, dedicating myself, before God, to my chosen profession–law
    enforcement.”

    So either the city of Colorado Springs didn’t read the oath every officer is sworn to uphold, or they can’t read, or comprehend.

    #01 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s actions demonstrate his service to mankind?
    #02 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words safeguard lives?
    #03 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words protect the weak against oppression and intimidation?
    #04 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words instill that he and CSPD are here to be peaceful against his violent and words to cause disorder?
    #05 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words show respect to these unlawful protesters ensuring their Constitutional rights were not violated?
    #06 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words reflect or even inspire Liberty, Equality and Justice?
    #07 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words keep his private life unsullied as an example to all?
    #08 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words show he will maintain a courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or ridicule?
    #09 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words demonstrate self-restraint?
    #10 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words demonstrate he was constantly mindful of the welfare of others?
    #11 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words reflect his honesty in thought and deed (in a positive way) in both his personal life and his official life?
    #12 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words reflect his exemplary performance in obeying the laws of the land and regulations of his department?
    #13 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words reflect him never acting officiously or permit personal feelings prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence his decisions?
    #14 – Since Sgt. Keith Wrede has demonstrated that his actions will reflect him acting officiously, and permitting his personal prejudices, animosities, or friendships influence his decisions, What guarantee is CSPD going to hold Sgt. Keith Wrede to at this point, since he already crossed this threshold of “NEVER”?
    #15 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s words show he will enforce the laws without fear, or favor, “malice” or “ill will”, “never employing unnecessary force” or “Violence” and never accepting gratuities.
    #16 – How did Sgt. Keith Wrede’s oath show an supervisory example of being the “symbol of public faith”?
    #17 – What does the city of Colorado Springs believe is the public’s trust is now for Sgt. Keith Wrede?
    #18 – With the City of Colorado springs judgement against Sgt. Keith Wrede, how is the public expected to receive Sgt. Keith Wrede’s oath to be “true to the ethics of the police service”?
    #19 – Since the City of Colorado Springs passed judgement and retained Sgt. Keith Wrede, is the City of Colorado Springs stating this threshold of Sgt. Keith Wrede’s actions are acceptable and within “the ethics of the police service”?
    #20 – How is Sgt. Keith Wrede’s oath expected to be overlooked when his actions are entirely contrary to his actions. Since Sgt. Keith Wrede has sullied his name, how can his credibility in a court of law be overlooked when he has proven his word and oath are not accurate representations of his actions?
    #21 – If Sgt. Keith Wrede’s credibility has been damaged by his actions, how can he maintain the ability to uphold the required professionalism in a courtroom or even handling a case when he has clearly shown his prejudices do affect and influence his decisions.
    #22 – This oath before God is similar to the same oath swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If he was willing to not uphold himself to these ethics, what should give the public piece of mind that he would in every other capacity of a Law Enforcement Officer?
    #23 – Sgt. Keith Wrede has also been promoted to this position by his senior, higher ranking supervisors, placing him in a position that not only his actions affect the populace, but the lessons and teachings Sgt. Keith Wrede provides to his subordinates should now be under question as well.
    #24 – If Sgt. Keith Wrede is what CSPD wishes to retain because his actions, even though he violated the CSPD’s code of ethics, will be retained; what assurances is the populace given that the entire department is not in agreement with his actions and violating their own oaths given? A 5 (five) day suspension and removal from the special unit is not nearly significant for a Sergeant that posted on KRDO’s public access forums to “KILL EM ALL” referring to unlawful protesters. Leaders of men and women must be held to a higher standard, and having an entire department and city government back this decision to retain Sgt. Keith Wrede only shows how truly rampant this problem is in the government of Colorado Springs and CSPD as well.

    1. The city isn’t this fair and impartial to a drunk driver.

      The driver made the decision to drink to excess, then get in the car, and drive. the driver was not under duress and the decision was completely theirs to drive after imbibing too much alcohol. Law enforcement pulls over the DUI and summons and arrests once enough evidence has been collected.

      Fair and impartial would mean you held Sgt. Keith Wrede to that same threshold.

      No one told Sgt. Keith Wrede he should post twice stating to “KILL EM ALL” about citizens of our community. He did that on his own accord, he was not under duress. Me made the conscientious decision to deliberately put this message to the public.

      No this is not fair and impartial, The city government and CSPD don’t want to fix this problem, which is why Sgt. Keith Wrede and his lack of ethics are being retained, they match the city government and the police department’s ethics.

    2. Fair and impartial.

      § 18-5-113. Criminal impersonation

      (1) A person commits criminal impersonation if he or she knowingly:

      (a) Assumes a false or fictitious identity or legal capacity, and in such identity or capacity he or she:

      (I) Marries, or pretends to marry, or to sustain the marriage relation toward another without the connivance of the latter;

      (II) Becomes bail or surety for a party in an action or proceeding, civil or criminal, before a court or officer authorized to take the bail or surety; or

      (III) Confesses a judgment, or subscribes, verifies, publishes, acknowledges, or proves a written instrument which by law may be recorded, with the intent that the same may be delivered as true; or

      (b) Assumes a false or fictitious identity or capacity, legal or other, and in such identity or capacity he or she:

      (I) Performs an act that, if done by the person falsely impersonated, might subject such person to an action or special proceeding, civil or criminal, or to liability, charge, forfeiture, or penalty; or

      (II) Performs any other act with intent to unlawfully gain a benefit for himself, herself, or another or to injure or defraud another.

      (2) Criminal impersonation is a class 6 felony.

      (3) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, using false or fictitious personal identifying information, as defined in section 18-5-901 (13), shall constitute the assumption of a false or fictitious identity or capacity.

      18-5-113(b)(I) Does that mean that this crime wouldn’t apply?

      He used a moniker that could have been a real person’s name in this community, Steven Eric.

      Now the question is, would CSPD and it’s officers arrested someone in the community if they did this same act?

      It is their duty to do so. Also, their Code of Ethics also requires their personnel to respond.

      But hey, a CSPD Sergeant advocating on a public news outlet for someone to “KILL EM ALL” isn’t that serious right?
      It’s only homicide, a CSPD law enforcement sergeant actively advocated for someone in the community he protects to commit.

    3. I’d also talk to the District Attorney’s office before charging, but given that there were more than 5 cars on the highway as this unlawful protest was occurring, this criminal charge could also apply:

      § 18-9-102. Inciting riot

      (1) A person commits inciting riot if he:

      (a) Incites or urges a group of five or more persons to engage in a current or impending riot; or

      (b) Gives commands, instructions, or signals to a group of five or more persons in furtherance of a riot.

      (2) A person may be convicted under section 18-2-101, 18-2-201, or 18-2-301 of attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to incite a riot only if he engages in the prohibited conduct with respect to a current or impending riot.

      (3) Inciting riot is a class 1 misdemeanor, but, if injury to a person or damage to property results therefrom, it is a class 5 felony.

      specifically 18-9-102(1)(b)

      You know when Sgt. Keith Wrede put out his command of “KILL EM ALL” on KRDO’s News Media outlets.
      The article was live for 52 minutes when KRDO observed his date and timestamps of his command was observed 37 and 32 minutes. This means when KRDO’s report went live, Sgt. Keith Wrede responded in 15 (Fifteen) minutes.

    4. Lastly, I found this in this in the Colorado Springs Police Officer Conduct policy, Some of the City government’s and CSPD’s actions make me question this decision even more.

      “.24 Equality of Enforcement
      People throughout the City need, and deserve, fair and impartial law enforcement. Every
      member of the public must be able to expect a consistent police response to the person’s
      behavior, wherever it occurs, and whoever the person may be. Unequal enforcement creates
      resistance and leads to loss of respect for the law itself and those who are its guardians. Under
      no circumstances will discriminatory attitudes or procedures be allowed to influence the
      impartial enforcement of any law or the treatment of any person. It is the responsibility of each
      police employee, sworn or civilian, to insure that her/his actions and behavior, in this respect, are beyond reproach.

      The element of even-handedness is implicit in the uniform application and enforcement of law.
      The amount of force, or the method employed to secure compliance with the law, is governed by
      the particular situation. Similar circumstances require similar treatment–in all areas of the city, as well as for all groups and individuals. Department personnel, therefore, will provide equal service to all persons in the community.”

      There a couple of lines that stood out to me,

      “Unequal enforcement creates resistance and leads to loss of respect for the law itself and those who are its guardians. Under no circumstances will discriminatory attitudes or procedures be allowed to influence the impartial enforcement of any law or the treatment of any person. It is the responsibility of each police employee, sworn or civilian, to insure that her/his actions and behavior, in this respect, are beyond reproach.”

      1. followed by

        “.30 Conduct Unbecoming a Police Officer

        Officers of the Colorado Springs Police Department, whether in person, in written form, or on
        social networking sites, shall conduct themselves, at all times, both on and off duty, in a manner that reflects most favorably on the Department. Conduct unbecoming a police officer includes behavior that could bring the Department into disrepute or discredit the officer as an officer of the Department, or that which could impair the operation or efficiency of the Department or officer.

        No officer, whether married or single, will date or be in a romantic, intimate or sexual
        relationship with his/her subordinate or supervisor or any employee within his/her chain of
        command.”

        1. Just the Good ol’ Boys… hiding behind the blue wall, doing what they want, and not following their own policies.

          1. So by the definitions of your rant you are guilty of criminal impersonation, attempt to incite a riot….etc. also. Funny how you can point and rave about someone else yet you are doing the same thing but I guess you are above the standard you hold others to.

          2. Viral Thoughts, Where do I start to unravel your reply, i guess i will go with the most obvious.
            #1 – I am not an employee of the City of Colorado Springs, nor CSPD, so I am not held to the standards of their agencies policies.
            #2 – Intent. My intent is not to incite a riot, nor to criminally impersonate someone. My intent is to point out the glaringly obvious double-standard Sgt. Keith Wrede received as he is a part of the CSPD’s supervisory cadre. I add my intent is also to enlighten the populace of these facts. Most of which cannot be overlooked, but some can attempt to distract from the information, but cannot dispute these statements, as they only lead to on simple answer. I attempt to bring to light, that which most are unaware of, like the Colorado Revised Statutes, The city of Colorado Springs policies, and Colorado Springs Police Department’s SOP’s and codes of conduct.
            #3 – So with that in mind, you are still attempting to imply that my actions of bringing to light more facts of Sgt. Keith Wrede’s case. Also this information is public record. You are implying that I, as a person that is attempting to educate and enlighten and my posts regarding this incident, are akin to Sgt. Keith Wrede’s statements of “KILL EM ALL”?

            How do you not understand the fundamental differences of these two statements? I am curious because your bias are showing yet again, and it is making me ponder, are you just a zealous follower of a specific ideology or do you really not see and understand the difference? Help me help you.

      1. Fcn2.0, The initial part of this case broke and was investigated from the information KRDO brought to the city of Colorado Springs and CSPD.

        and KRDO wrote, “This is a developing story, check back for updates.”

        Clearly KRDO will review their comments section regarding this article and hopefully complete a follow-up report because, as they stated, “This is a developing story, check back for updates.”

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