Conrad Lariviere, a police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts, is under internal investigation after being accused of writing a Facebook post that laughed at the deadly car ramming attack in Charlottesville.
In a later statement to MassLive, Lariviere expressed remorse for what he called a “stupid comment” and said, “Never would I want someone to get murdered.”
Heather Heyer, 32, a paralegal, was struck and killed as she walked across the street in the attack. Heyer had joined a protest against white supremacists who descended on the Virginia city to rally against the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Nineteen other people were injured in the attack, and the FBI has opened a civil rights investigation. James Alex Fields, an Ohio man, is accused in the attack. Heyer’s death has galvanized people around the country against the white nationalists who held the Charlottesville rally.
A 2014 news story on MassLive reported that Lariviere was one of 29 recruits who made up Class 1014 of the Springfield Police Academy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lariviere Is Accused of ‘Mocking’ the Car Ramming Incident & Now Expresses Regret
MassLive broke the story, complete with a screenshot, writing, “A Springfield police officer has mocked the anti-racism demonstrators who were run down during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, applauding the fatal crash in a Facebook post.”
“Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn’t block roads,” the post on Conrad Lariviere’s page said, according to the screenshot (his page is currently privatized, and the post was deleted, according to the newspaper). The comment came under a share of a news story on the tragedy.
According to MassLive, “Lariviere confirmed that he is a patrolman in a Facebook conversation with MassLive, and expressed remorse for what he described as ‘a stupid comment about people blocking streets.’”
“Never would I want someone to get murdered. I am not a racist and don’t believe in what any of those protesters are doing,” Lariviere told MassLive. “I’m a good man who made a stupid comment and would just like to be left alone.”
The newspaper also reported that Lariviere allegedly responded to a person who criticized the post, “I’ve been hit by a sh*tbag with warrants but who cares right you ignorant brat live in a fantasy land with the rest of America while I deal with the real danger.”
Heavy has reached out to Officer Lariviere through Facebook and will update this story if a response is received.
2. The Police Commissioner Said He Will Work to Determine Whether the Patrolman Made the Comment & the Police Praised Lariviere Several Times on Facebook Before the Comment Controversy
Police Commissioner John Barbieri told WWLP that he had received an email complaint about the comment.
According to 22News, Barbieri sent the television station a statement that read, “I received notification of this Facebook post earlier today via email from a complainant. The post is purportedly from a Springfield police officer. I took immediate steps to initiate a prompt and thorough internal investigation. If in fact this post did originate from an officer employed with the Springfield Police Department, this matter will be reviewed by the Community Police Hearings Board for further action.”
The Springfield Police Department has posted several times about Lariviere on Facebook before the comments. “Another Gun Taken Off the Streets,” the department proclaimed in 2016. “Officers Joe Levesque and Conrad Lariviere were on patrol at 4:00 A.M. this morning when the they conducted an investigation on a Volkswagon traveling on Andrew Street. The plate number came back to a Richard Collazo Jr. who had an outstanding arrest warrants for Carrying a Firearm and Assault With a Dangerous Weapon.”
In another past Facebook post, the department wrote, “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide …Springfield Police Officers Shavonne Lewis and Conrad Lariviere responded to a home on David Street on January 21’st at 5:30 in the morning for a house alarm. The above officers responded to check out the home and as they were walking to the rear yard they heard smashing glass.
The officers spotted the suspect dash from the house and run into the woods. The officers gave chase into the woods that was adjacent to the house. A short while later these dedicated officers found the house breaker hiding inside bushes. The following suspect was arrested without further incident …”
3. The Mayor Called the Officer’s Statements ‘Unbelievable’ & Called for a ‘Thorough Internal Investigation’
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno released a statement through the City of Springfield Office of Communications.
“I just got done issuing a statement this morning on how upsetting the tragic incidents were in Charlottesville, VA, and one of our own officers does this? Unbelievable!” Sarno wrote, in the statement that was released on Facebook.
He called for a thorough internal investigation.
“There is no place for this in our society, let alone from a Springfield Police Officer. We just went through this social media issue with a couple of Springfield Firefighters. Again, this is not an overall reflection of our men and women in blue, who serve with honor, courage and compassion. If these individuals do not learn from, understand and represent the meaning of mutual respect, my strong suggestion would be a different career path. I stand by and commend Commissioner John Barbieri’s steps for a thorough internal investigation and review by our Community Police Hearing Board to pursue the appropriate discipline against said officer.”
4. People Expressed Anger at the Comments on Social Media
Anger erupted on social media over the comments.
“Please fire Conrad Lariviere for his disgusting and vile comments regarding the white supremacist / terrorism murder in Charlottesville. Nobody who reacts with joy to the death of an innocent human should be trusted to uphold the law and protect our citizens. Thank you,” wrote one man to the Springfield Police Department.
“Conrad Lariviere does not display the responsibility to protect and serve. It is NEVER OK to “love” seeing people killed or hurt for peacefully protesting,” wrote another person on Facebook.
Similar sentiments – and some far angrier – filled social media.
5. Heyer Was a Promising Young Woman Who Was Working for Change
Heyer was identified as the lone fatality in the car ramming attack on the crowd of counter protesters, who were trying to combat the hateful message disseminated by white nationalists in Charlottesville.
Heyer was a native of Greene County and graduated from William Monroe High School. She worked for Miller Law Group PC in Virginia as a legal assistant, according to her profile on LinkedIn. She was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 and was open about those political views on her Facebook wall.
A GoFundMe site was established in her name.
Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, told Huffington Post: “I don’t want her death to be a focus for more hatred, I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.”
You can learn more about Heyer here: