Illinois officer resigns amid probe into racist, homophobic social media posts

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Springfield police officer who was placed on unpaid leave after being accused of posting hate messages on social media has resigned.

Springfield Police say Aaron Nichols has been placed on unpaid leave after an anonymous blog post connected Nichols to years of racist, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic posts on multiple social media platforms.

The department suspended Nichols the morning after the charges became public.

Springfield Police Chief Ken Scarlette and several other members of the Springfield Police Department are expected to raise the matter with the city council Tuesday at its weekly meeting.

The department has opened an internal investigation into the charges, saying the blog will be a central part of that investigation. This investigation will continue despite Nichols’ resignation.

Fifty-two state lawmakers weighed in on the matter Monday night, sending a letter to the city calling for a full and independent investigation into the social media posts.

“It would be disturbing enough to know that someone with those views lived in your community. But learning that such a person wields authority over the very people he declares his hatred for is terrifying.

Since Nichols resigned while under investigation, he will be decertified. The department will report the case to the Law Enforcement Training and Standards Council.

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