Illinois Police Officer Placed on Leave after Racist, Anti-Semitic Posts Emerge on Social Media

A Springfield police officer has been placed on unpaid leave after allegedly posting racist and anti-semitic posts on social media.

Springfield opened an investigation after online reports identified officer Aaron Paul Nichols, 46, as the person responsible for racist and anti-Semitic postings on multiple social media forums.

Nichols' Racist, Anti-Semitic Social Media Posts

Aaron Paul Nichols
Aaron Paul Nichols from the Springfield Police Department. Twitter

The website Anonymous Comrades Collective, which describes itself as "dedicated to exposing Nazis, racists, and fascists" shared a series of posts made by accounts reportedly belonging to the nearly 20-year veteran of the Springfield police force on Gab – a social media network that champions free speech and is known for its far-right userbase.

In his posts, made from accounts with the name "WeWillWin" and "MagicDirtFarmer," Nichols not only praised Hitler but also disparaged Jews and people of color. In one post, Nichols said the convicted vigilante killers of Ahmaud Arbery "did nothing wrong" and were only charged "because of Jews."

Arbery's killing made national news almost two years ago after a cellphone video showed the 25-year-old unarmed Black man being gunned down by three white men in Brunswick, Georgia. His killers were sentenced to life in prison earlier this month, after having been convicted of his murder in November 2021.

He even disparages African-Americans and his posts include the use of derogatory terms and racial slurs:

In another post, he expressed reverence for Hitler saying "he did nothing wrong" and that he was "the most maligned man in history."

Nichols has also claimed he knows "where the Jews live" and has made violent threats against Jews time and again. Here are some of the posts:

Springfield Police Department Launches Investigation, Officer Placed on Leave

"The Springfield Police Department was made aware of comments reportedly posted to social media by an officer using a personal profile," Police Chief Ken Scarlette said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Upon receiving this information, the Department immediately launched an internal investigation."

The officer has since been placed on unpaid administrative leave and his police powers removed.

Scarlette's statement went on to say the department "does not condone the use of racist comments by any of our officers, at any time. Statements like this erode civilian trust and confidence in our department and are not tolerated. The views allegedly expressed by the officer do not align with our oath, or the mission and philosophy of the Springfield Police Department and in no way reflect the views of the over 200 officers within our department."

This article was first published on April 2, 2022