State Watch

Police officer with connection to Proud Boys fired

A California police department announced Friday that it fired one of its officers for having ties to the far-right extremist group Proud Boys.

The Fresno Police Department terminated Rick Fitzgerald’s employment following an investigation that began after the officer joined a Proud Boys event on March 14. Fitzgerald was placed on administrative leave following the incident while the department investigated, according to a statement the department shared to social media.

“It is clear to me there were egregious violations of department policy,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said in a statement publicly announcing Fitzgerald’s ousting, according to NBC News.

He continued, “I am pleased that Officer Fitzgerald will no longer be serving as a police officer with the City of Fresno.”

Police Chief Paco Balderrama denounced Fitzgerald’s participation in the fringe group’s counterdemonstration of a pro-LGBT protest, saying he did not want an officer on staff who associated with the Proud Boys.

“I stand by and reassert my prior comments in strongly disapproving of any police officer affiliating with hate groups,” he said. “The integrity and legitimacy of our police department must be maintained.”

Several members of the Proud Boys, identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, have been arrested for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Tags California Fresno Police Department Jerry Dyer Proud Boys Rick Fitzgerald

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