COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A sergeant with the Colorado Springs Police Department has been temporarily suspended and transferred following an internal affairs investigation that confirmed he posted comments on a livestream of a protest in late June. The CSPD investigation found Sgt. Keith Wrede responded to a news crew’s coverage with “KILL THEM ALL” and “KILL EM ALL” while using a Facebook profile with the name Steven Eric. The news station, ABC affiliate KRDO, approached police days later after receiving a tip that Sgt. Wrede was the source of the comments.

Keith Wrede

Keith Wrede (credit: Colorado Springs Police)

In an letter to the public, CSPD Chief Vince Niski on Monday called the comments “unprofessional, distasteful, and not reflective of our department.”

The sergeant was penalized with a 40-hour suspension and loss of more than $2,000 in wages, plus removal from his specialized unit and reassignment to a different position in the department.

But the chief also asked the public not to judge the officer on a single act and to consider Sgt. Wrede’s successes during two decades of service.

“It was determined,” Chief Niski wrote, “that the comments were made off-duty out of frustration and there was no indication of any physical action or intent to cause harm. I am in no way minimizing Sergeant Wrede’s words. His comments were unacceptable, have damaged our relationship with members of our community, and fell short of our standards.”

Sgt. Wrede’s disguised comments came during a June 30 incident. A group of demonstrators blocked traffic on Interstate 25 with about a dozen cars, then exited the vehicles with placards and signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The blockade last little more than an hour and most left before CSPD officers responded.

A photo of the June 30th protest on I-25 in Colorado Springs. (credit: KKTV)

Chief Niski wrote a letter to the public then, too, supporting the community’s frustration with the recent string of protests and resultant damage to property, as well as explaining the reasons behind his department’s delayed response.

In all, 13 people were cited for their role in the incident.

In his latest letter, Chief Niski defended his decision not to fire the officer, despite calls from the public to do so.

“While his statements were harmful and reprehensible, I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment,” Niski stated. “We hope that you can accept our apology and be assured that the CSPD and Sgt. Wrede will continue to faithfully serve the public.”

The chief’s letter:

To Our Community—

As your Chief of Police, I will always be transparent and honest with our community— during both good and bad times. As many of you are aware, one of our officers was accused of writing inappropriate comments on social media using a pseudonym. The investigation and review process into that incident is now complete. It has been found that the Facebook profile used to make those comments did in fact belong to Colorado Springs Police Department Sergeant Keith Wrede. 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. We do however, want to provide full context of the events that occurred.

On June 30, 2020, a small group of protestors blocked traffic on I-25, causing serious potential danger to themselves and drivers. The incident was being covered by multiple local news crews, one of which was live-streaming the demonstration. During that live-stream on KRDO’s Facebook, the comments “KILL THEM ALL” and “KILL EM ALL” were made by someone named “Steven Eric.” A few days later, on July 3, 2020, the CSPD Public Affairs Office was contacted by KRDO, who brought these comments to our attention and stated they received a tip that “Steven Eric” was a pseudonym, and the account actually belonged to CSPD Sergeant Keith Wrede. Due to the inappropriate, unprofessional, and unacceptable nature of the comments, we immediately began an Internal Affairs investigation to determine if the comments were in fact made by Sergeant Wrede. Based on preliminary information in the early stages of the investigation, we believed Sergeant Wrede was the individual who made the comments.
Although we were able to quickly determine Sergeant Wrede’s involvement, he was still afforded due process as required by law. At the end of the investigation, Internal Affairs submitted their findings, which included previous personnel history, interviews, etc., to Sergeant Wrede’s Chain of Command. His 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. It was determined that the comments were made off-duty out of frustration and there was no indication of any physical action or intent to cause harm. I am in no way minimizing Sergeant Wrede’s words. His comments were unacceptable, have damaged our relationship with members of our community, and fell short of our standards.

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. I have also heard from many that I did not address these comments or refused to provide information during the internal investigation. From day one, I have taken the stance that the comments made on the live-stream were unprofessional, distasteful, and not reflective of our department. As mentioned earlier, public employees are entitled to due process under the law, and in any investigation, we do not release details as it is on-going. We owe it to our community and our employees to make sure a thorough and fair investigation is completed without any undue influence.

I fully recognize that it will take time to rebuild relationships that have been broken. The only thing I would ask of our community, is to not condemn every officer that wears our badge because of one individual’s action. Please remember officers are human too and make mistakes. Throughout his 20-year career, Sergeant Wrede has professionally served this community. While his statements were harmful and reprehensible, I cannot deprive the community of a good police officer and his services because of an isolated incident of an error in judgment. I also want to reaffirm that the regrettable comments made are not reflective of our department’s character or expectations of how we serve, or talk about, our community. We hope that you can accept our apology and be assured that the CSPD and Sgt. Wrede will continue to faithfully serve the public. We will always aspire to be worthy of your trust in all we say and do.

In the interest of transparency, we have provided the Internal Affairs investigation to our community, which can be found on our website here: https://coloradosprings.gov/police-department/page/cases-interest

 

Logan Smith

Comments (15)
  1. Travis Hull says:

    I am commenting to hopefully speak with Mr.Logan Smith. I have more information on this guy. He has caused me and my family plenty of trouble coming to my home with excessive police force all directed by my girlfriends mom who he used to date. I have felonies now and am being threatened with prison over his lies. He shuts his body cam footage off when he does shady stuff. He has commented on my girlfriends f.b. with his secret f.b. name as well. I want it to be known there are more incidences.

  2. Clawhammerjake says:

    If this is the kind of judgement this man has after 20 years on the job, what kind of judgement did he have during the first 19.

    1. Michael Pacifico says:

      This officer has been on the job 20 years. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to advocate murder of people exercising their first amendment rights. I would look back on this guy’s record and to check for other violent tendencies.
      He needs to be made to take an indefinite leave of absence without pay and an investigation done to see if he warrants criminal charges.

  3. Legion57 says:

    What is KRDO doing sniffing around illegally investigating who is the real name behind a facebook account? Big Brother anyone?

    1. joeg2028 says:

      It’s a direct threat. That’s not “snooping around.” How do you think the federal security agencies uncover terrorists? Would you change your mind if it had been posted on your child’s FB page and said, “Kill her (or him)”?

  4. Travis says:

    Cry me a river, you melodramatic dullard.

  5. Mr. Rogers says:

    If a black guy had done this and was speaking about police officers, he would have been beaten and thrown in jail…..

    1. URallWet says:

      Baloney- black guys do say it and DO IT all the time with NO repercussions. They have actually killed officers and gotten away with it. Take a long walk off a short pier.

  6. MLee says:

    Regardless if the guy has been serving 2 years or 20 years. He should fired immediately with out the possibility of pension.

    1. Thank you! He said KILL THEM ALL. His job is to protect us even if he doesn’t like what we’re doing.

  7. Hooptie J says:

    A threat of violence from someone in a position to make good on, the city issued equipment to carry it out, and a job that require self control.

    someone who doesnt have enough self control not to spew death threats on the internet shouldnt be carrying a gun for a job.

    Whatever Could Go Wrong?

  8. Billy Mensa says:

    So two weeks suspension for a law enforcement officer who advocates for the murder of people exercising their Constitutional rights to protest? Really?

    Let me put this in another way. Imagine a case where you have an 3rd grade teacher. This third grade teacher is caught on a livestream of children playing stating, “Have sex with them all! Hard f*** them all!” You’re saying that it would be acceptable to you for that teacher to receive a 2 week suspension after being caught advocating for the use of children for sexual satisfaction. You think that teacher is going to have a crew of bootlickers talking about how disrespected and underappreciated the teaching profession is? Or are people going to realize the gravity of what was said, understand that the trust in that public employee is completely shattered, and fire that sick SOB?

    Fire this guy. It was not a “moment of frustration.” It was a moment where he thought he could get away with saying something he thinks. If he wants to be a sociopath, he can do it without the public paying him.

    1. GoplayinTraffic says:

      Billy MENSA LOL- you are a Mensa reject as is your straw man argument. Yawn. A Burn Loot Murder member if I ever read one. Or maybe you are like clinton- Bill Likes Minors.

  9. natalie says:

    This officer is very frustrated and worried as is all of the POs out there thru out the country. How much do we all expect these officers to take on a daily basis. Are they expected to just deal with this “war” they have to fight everyday, not knowing if this is the day they don’t come home to see their family. They are fed up and have every right to feel that way. Hence more and more are turning in their papers for a better way of life.

  10. Austin P. says:

    If I did this at my place of employment, I would be fired on the spot.

Leave a Reply