Meteorologist Marty Coniglio has left the Colorado outlet 9News after allegedly posting a tweet, since deleted, comparing U.S. federal troops to Nazi soldiers, local media reported.
The Twitter post at the heart of the controversy, dated July 23, features a photo of World War II-era German paramilitary police, posing in uniform with a large swastika in the background and what looks to be Adolf Hitler in the center. “Federal police in cities … now where have I seen that before?” reads the caption. The tweet features Marty Coniglio’s name, profile photo, and Twitter handle @martyconiglio.
Asked about the authenticity of the tweet, Coniglio told The Epoch Times in an email: “I believe what you are talking about is an authentic photo of a group of Sturmbteilung, also known as the SA, or “Brown Shirts,” who were a paramilitary nationalized police force in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.”
He added that “I am not familiar with any retweets or interpretations of the photo or any post beyond the historical fact that the group existed.”
9News did not immediately return a request for comment.
The tweet was screenshot before being deleted, with Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado’s Republican Party chairman, later sharing it, adding the message: “Comparing the brave men and women of our law enforcement community to Nazis is absolutely reprehensible.”
Mark Cornetta, president and general manager of 9News, confirmed to Westword that an internal email was distributed to station staff at 9 p.m. on July 24, stating that Coniglio was no longer an employee of the outlet. Coniglio’s bio is no longer featured on the 9News staff page.
“I want to share that Marty Coniglio is no longer an employee of 9News,” the email stated, according to the report. “We thank him for his many years of service.”
Coniglio confirmed to The Denver Post that he left 9News but said he would “not be able to talk about the situation for at least a week or so.”
In a statement to Westword, Coniglio said, “I am moving along with the next opportunities coming up in my life. I don’t really have anything to say about past events.”
Coniglio pinned a tweet on July 25 with the Latin phrase “ET STABIT IN VERITATE,” which roughly translated means “standing firm in truth,” and the words, “Now…on to the next adventure!”
The Colorado Republican Party commented on Coniglio’s alleged tweet with a statement on Twitter: “Republicans know that the press leans to the left, but are fellow reporters okay with this type of radical hate against law enforcement from employees at local news stations?”
The reference to media bias in the GOP tweet in context of deployment of federal troops to quell protest violence may refer to reports that some outlets have downplayed or ignored rioting during protests including destruction of property or setting federal government buildings on fire.
Seattle police on Sunday released bodycam footage that shows some of the street violence that left dozens of officers injured the night before. The footage shows an explosive device thrown at officers, who back away as it explodes. It also shows unspecified objects thrown at officers as they face off against rioters.
“Crowd continuing to throw large rocks, bottles, fireworks and other explosives at officers,” the Seattle Police Department wrote in a tweet.
Crowd continuing to throw large rocks, bottles, fireworks and other explosives at officers. pic.twitter.com/3gTGJUonUt
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 26, 2020
“In yesterday’s protests, at least 3 set fires occurred in Capitol Hill & First Hill,” the Seattle Fire Department said in a statement. “We want to remind individuals that fires can have unintended consequences including property damage and in a worst case scenario—loss of life. Do not intentionally ignite fires.”
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle police union, shared an article on his Twitter feed about officers getting injured by rioters.
“This is clearly domestic terrorism,” he said in a social media post.
Meanwhile, six Democrat mayors have sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for legislation that would bar the Trump administration from sending federal agents to their cities.
Calling the use of federal troops an “egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities,” the mayors complained about recent reports of federal agents detaining rioters in Portland.
“We live in a democratic republic, not an authoritarian police state. We must block this type of dangerous and undemocratic exercise of power once and for all,” they wrote.
Responding to a situation in which demonstrations have, in places, devolved into street violence, the Trump administration has taken the unusual step of sending in federal troops to protect federal buildings and federal officers that have been under nightly attacks for nearly two months.
President Donald Trump, in remarks on July 22, said that “a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments” in recent weeks has “led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence.”
He then announced a surge of federal law enforcement into communities impacted by violent crime.
“We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice,” he said.
“This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end,” Trump said.