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Denver officer who posted Instagram photo with the caption 'let's start a riot' is fired

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Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 23:33:27-04

DENVER — A Denver police officer who posted a picture on Instagram with the caption "let's start a riot" has been fired, police officials announced on Tuesday.

An Internal Affairs investigation found that officer Thomas McClay violated the police department's social media policy and "posted content inconsistent with the values of the Department," the police department said in a news release.

A screenshot of the officer’s Instagram post was shared on Reddit Monday. Tommy McClay's Instagram account has since been removed, and the post is no longer viewable.

Denver police said the officers in the photo have been reassigned and will not be working the protests.

After the photo was shared on social media, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter, according to a statement released on Twitter from the Denver Police Department.

"I support Chief Pazen's decision and regret this occurred at a moment in time when we must all bring out the very best of ourselves to meet the challenges before us," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a tweeted statement. "Thank you to the officers who are working to keep us all safe during this very difficult time."

The Denver Police Protective Association, in a statement Tuesday night, called McClay's photo "inflammatory, insensitive, and quite frankly, misguided," and asked other officers, the public and city officials to "stop using social media to fan the flames of hatred."

"It is time to end utilizing social media as a tool to divide," the union said. "It is time to sit down and talk face to face. The PPA is committed to helping our City begin to heal."