‘Start a riot.’ Cop fired over Instagram photo in tactical gear, Denver police say

Maddie Capron

A Denver police officer was fired after posting a photo of himself and two other officers in riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot,” police said.

The Instagram post on Officer Thomas McClay’s account prompted an “internal affairs investigation” Monday, according to the Denver Police Department. On Tuesday, police said McClay violated the department’s social media policy and was fired.

“The Internal Affairs Investigation revealed that the officer violated the Department’s social media policy, posted content inconsistent with the values of the Department, and the officer has been terminated,” Denver Police Department said in a statement on Twitter.

The post was shared on Reddit on Monday, according to The Denver Channel. However, the officer deactivated his account, the news outlet reported.

The other officers in the photo were reassigned and won’t work protests, according to The Denver Channel.

The photo was shared when Denver police officers “engaged in violent standoffs with protesters demanding reform in the wake of George Floyd’s killing,” KRDO reported. Floyd died last week after a Minnesota police officer knelt on his neck.

Hundreds have turned up at protests in Denver, including those Monday who sat on the ground in silence for nine minutes, according to The Denver Channel. On other nights, tensions between protesters and police escalated, the news outlet reported.

The violence and looting is being done by much smaller groups at mostly peaceful gatherings, authorities say. The majority of protesters nationwide have been “peaceful demonstrators calling for change,” law enforcement officials told ABC News.