Over the past week, a police chief from Arkansas and a police captain from Alabama, both staunch supporters of President Donald Trump, have been forced to resign after making comments online threatening violence and murder against supporters of President-Elect Joe Biden.
This past Saturday, Lang Holland, the police chief of Marshall, Arkansas, resigned after comments he made on the social networking site Parler were publicized by an anti-fascist Facebook group known as Ozarks Hatewatch.
“Will you and several hundred more go with me to DC and fight our way into the Congress and arrest every Democrat who has participated in the coup?” Holland posted on Friday. “We may have to shoot and kill many of the Communist BLM and ANTIFA Democrat foot soldiers to accomplish this!!!”
Parler is a self proclaimed “free speech” social media application similar to Twitter. It has become a haven for far-right media personalities and fascists who have flocked to the site after being de-platformed or banned by Twitter.
In another message posted Friday in response to Trump’s repeated claims of a fraudulent election, Holland wrote, “Death to all Marxist Democrats. Take no prisoners leave no survivors!!” He added, “Never let them forget they are traitors and have no right to live in the Republic after what they have done.”
After the post surfaced on Friday evening, Holland initially denied they were his, claiming someone else had set up a fake account in his name. He proceeded to create another Parler account with the same profile picture as the previous one, but instead of populating it with QAnon posts and violent death threats, he wrote that he was a “BLM supporter and champion of LGBTQ+ rights.”
By Saturday morning both Parler accounts were deactivated, and in the afternoon Marshall Mayor Kevin Elliott released a statement announcing Holland’s resignation.
Before Holland’s Parler account was deactivated, local news station KNWA reported that Holland belonged to two groups, The Patriots and Ozark Proud Boys. Elliott told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Holland was the “best police chief that I’ve ever seen,” after accepting his resignation.
Holland had been the police chief in the rural northern Arkansas town of roughly 1,355 people for the past two years. Prior to becoming chief, Holland was a deputy with the department for 15 years. Similarly to Michigan Sheriff Dar Leaf, Holland made local headlines in July for resisting Governor Asa Hutchinson’s statewide mask mandate.
In a press release, Holland wrote that he felt the mask mandate was “a very large overreach of the powers given to State government by the citizens of the state of Arkansas.” He added, “These mandates by government are killing our economy all over this county, and until people in positions of authority in government stand up and say enough is enough we are going to become a failed communist state.”
Holland personifies the fascist elements Trump is inciting in his bid to overthrow the election and remain in power. The same day he was making his threatening comments online, an Alabama police captain, Scott Walden, of the Flomaton Police Department, was tendering his resignation after calling for the lining up of Biden supporters to “put a bullet in their skull for treason.”
The police department received over 100 complaints the day the comments were made and Walden was placed on administrative leave. In the less than 24 hours before he formally resigned, Walden attempted to defend himself on his personal Facebook page, writing that he didn’t mean for all liberals and Democrats to be killed, just the ones “charged for committing treason.”
He added, “So either you [are] trying to stir the pot or you are ok with someone committing treason, but not ok with someone who says they should be shot. This is the world we live in.”
Speaking to local station WPMI, Flomaton Mayor Dewey Bondurant admitted that this was not the first time Walden had been reprimanded for violent social media posts. Bondurant said that if it was up to him, Walden would have been fired immediately. “That’s what I wanted to do to start with, but by law I can’t,” he added.
In another case, a Colorado deputy, Jason Taft, is on paid leave after making threatening comments on Facebook in which he challenged supporters of Biden to “please meet me at the battle grounds.”
In a long post that has since been deleted, Taft threatened to kill Democrats, writing: “There will be far fewer results than this year because we’ll help them find God. Democrats, you were scared of Trump, now’s the true time to be afraid. We will do what you have done to our city’s and prevail.”
Despite Biden winning the popular and electoral votes, violent threats against poll workers in tightly contested states have yet to subside. Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt told “60 Minutes” this weekend that Philadelphia election officials received death threats throughout the week, with callers “reminding us that this is what the Second Amendment is for.”
Speaking to reporters last Thursday in Nevada, Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria admitted, “I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me... I am concerned for the safety of my staff.”