Maine Capitol Police chief apologizes for online conspiracy posts ahead of potential unrest at state house
Gov. Mills says chief’s online actions will be subject to a personnel review
AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - The chief of Maine’s Capitol Police is coming under fire for controversial social media posts that became public Friday, the same day Gov. Janet Mills activated the National Guard to assist law enforcement ahead of potential unrest at the State House in the lead up to Inauguration Day.
Chief Russell Gauvin apologized for the reported online comments supporting far-right conspiracy theories, in a statement provided to WMTW:
“In response to an article that came out today, I recognize that several posts that l have shared, commented on, or reacted to in a personal capacity can be seen as inconsistent with my professional responsibilities,” Gauvin said. “I certainly never intended for my social media account to ever bring my commitment to fair and professional law enforcement into question. I apologize for giving this impression and have removed my personal social media accounts.”
The chief went on in the statement to say that he takes seriously his role in protecting the Maine Capitol, adding “I take seriously my duty to uphold our laws, to do so in a fair and impartial way, and to protect the Capitol and our people.”
His actions online will now be subject to a review, Gov. Janet Mills and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Mike Sauschuck said in a joint statement.
“Chief Gauvin’s apology is warranted, and he has assured us of his commitment to upholding his duties and responsibilities, regardless of any personal beliefs,” the joint statement read. “We are troubled and concerned by what we have read and have asked that the matter be reviewed through existing personnel process to determine whether any State policies were violated.”
State legislative leaders, who work in the building Gauvin is in charge of protecting, called his statements “concerning.”
“We’ve shared our grave concerns with the executive branch and urged them to look into the situation,” Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford said in a joint statement. “We believe that Chief Gauvin should be held accountable based on their findings.”
Jackson and Fecteau went on to say Mainers must be able to trust those sworn to protect them.
“We hope the professionals at the Department of Public Safety and Capitol Police carry out their solemn responsibilities by ensuring everyone who comes to the State House is safe. Should these professionals be unable to maintain public trust, they should tender their resignations.”
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