Social media postings of a Springfield police officer have gotten the attention of Illinois lawmakers

Officer Aaron Nichols resigned Tuesday, rather than sit for an interview with the Springfield Police Department’s internal affairs division. It’s alleged that – behind screen names – he spent years posting racist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic screeds suggesting that, as an officer, he treats members of those groups differently than he does whites. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House and Senate Democrats – mostly lawmakers of color – are getting involved in what has become a big story in Springfield – racist social media posts, allegedly by a man who was on the police force.

Officer Aaron Nichols resigned Tuesday, rather than sit for an interview with the Springfield Police Department’s internal affairs division. It’s alleged that – behind screen names – he spent years posting racist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic screeds suggesting that, as an officer, he treats members of those groups differently than he does whites.

State Sen. Doris Turner (D-Springfield) is a former alderwoman and says this hurts her hometown. “The things that were said were horrific. We hope that no one who holds a position of public trust holds those views,” she said. “But, unfortunately, we know that those things happen.”

A police department statement says the investigation will continue, despite Nichols’ departure.

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]

==letter from House and Senate Democrats==

As members of the Illinois General Assembly, we come from several different caucuses (Asian-American, Black, Jewish, Latino, Progressive, and Queer) to demand that the Springfield Police Department fully address the incredibly disturbing allegations of hate activity by an officer in their employ. We further urge all of our law enforcement partners to identify and eliminate the presence of officers in your ranks who operate without respect for our constitution, the human dignity of our communities, or basic human decency.

We learned this week via an investigation by Anonymous that Officer Aaron P. Nichols appears to be the person behind several online accounts (including one on Ken Griffin funded Gab) associated with extreme right wing agendas including racism, homophobia, and antisemitism. A post published 4/1/2022 provides extensive details of the investigative methodology and links to Officer Nichols’ online accounts and disturbing posts. We have subsequently learned that the Springfield Police Department has suspended Officer Nichols and are thankful for their swift action. We await the results of a truly independent investigation.

A few examples of online traffic from accounts allegedly tracing back to Officer Nichols include:

“I despise the government and have for nearly 3 decades. The best place I can possibly be inside the beast.”

“Hitler did nothing wrong”

“Hitler is the most lied about figure in history, bar none.”

“If I found a genie and I had one wish? The Jews would be a distant memory in 72 hours.”

“I am a supporter of as many holocausts as it takes to cleanse this world of Talmudic influence.”

“N’s ruin everything. Even if it’s Whites doing the stealing, they’re likely selling the meat to blaq run restaurants or trading it to n’s for dope. Real talk.”

“I frequently deal with a basketball American who is related to a pro basketball American. Dude parks a $200,000 car in the drive of a $60,000 house. N**’s are so fucking dumb.”

“Being forced to live with n**’s is a human right violation. Where’s Merrick Garland when he could actually be useful?”

(With a pic of Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson) “Here’s our next Sheeboon Supreme Court Justice. I’m sure she’ll be completely impartial.”

“Homosexuality is rampant in the blaq community because the majority didn’t have dads around to protect them.”

“I’m a n** harm reduction specialist and we have minimum manning requirements. Someone has to clean these streets.”

“I dumped a homeless women’s (sic) cart out in the drive up of a @tacobell because she repeatedly refused to unload it herself. I then took the cart back to the @babiesrus she appropriated it from. I’m doing the Lord’s work out here”

“When I seize power ‘hate crimes’ will be encouraged.”

“I’m not willingly giving up my way of life. I’ll die in a pile of brass.” “When you decide you’re not afraid of death you’re finally free”

His social media handles have changed over time. While this investigation initially focused on @NogAirForce, he also allegedly wrote on an explicitly racist site known as Gab under the handle @_14words, which refers to the white supremacist slogan “we must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children,” quoting American neo-Nazi David Lane. The published results of their investigation provide significant evidence of the validity of the claims.

It would be disturbing enough to know someone with these views was living in your community. But to learn that such a person is exercising authority over the very people he declares his hatred for is terrifying. We need a thorough and independent investigation on Officer Nichols and anyone else espousing these beliefs. We need transparency on any misconduct and allegations. After such investigation anyone holding these beliefs must be immediately removed from their positions of authority before someone is hurt.

Senator Omar Aquino
Senator Chris Belt
Senator Melinda Bush
Senator Jacqui Collins
Senator Sara Feigenholtz
Senator Napoleon Harris
Senator Mattie Hunter
Senator Adriane Johnson
Senator Emil Jones III
Senator Laura Fine
Senator Julie Morrison
Senator Cristina Paciones-Zayas
Senator Robert Peters
Senator Elgie Sims
Senator Mike Simmons
Senator Doris Turner
Senator Ram Villivalam
Senator Celina Villanueva
Representative Carol Ammons
Representative Dagmara Avelar
Representative Kambium Buckner
Representative Jonathan Carroll
Representative Kelly Cassidy
Representative Lakesia Collins
Representative Margaret Croke
Representative Daniel Didech
Representative Robyn Gabel
Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
Representative Edgar Gonzalez
Representative Will Guzzardi
Representative Greg Harris
Representative Theresa Mah
Representative Joyce Mason
Representative Anna Moeller
Representative Bob Morgan
Representative Delia Ramirez
Representative Anne Stava-Murray
Representative Denyse Wang Stoneback
Representative Ann Williams
Representative Sam Yingling

==statement from Springfield Police Department==

On Friday, April 1, 2022, the Springfield Police Department placed Officer Aaron Nichols on unpaid administrative leave with no police power, after numerous racist and disturbing posts were revealed through a blogpost. Aaron Nichols was ordered to meet with Springfield Police Department internal affairs investigators today, April 5, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. Prior to the commencement of that interview, he resigned his position as a police officer for the City of Springfield. The Springfield Police Department is committed to a complete and thorough investigation into the comments and actions of Aaron Nichols, regardless of his resignation.


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