Police chief orders officer decommissioned after Facebook post


NASHVILLE – Metro police officer Anthony Venable was decommissioned after he made a Facebook post referencing the police-involved shooting in Falcon Heights, Minn., pending the results of an internal investigation.

“Yeah. I would have done 5.” Venable wrote during a Facebook conversation, according to police in a statement Thursday evening.

The comment appeared to reference to the number of shots in the Minnesota case where Philando Castile, 32, was killed in a police-involved shooting.

“The police department is treating this matter very seriously and took immediate action, regardless of what he claims the context to have been,” Police Chief Steve Anderson said.

Veneble, an eight-year MNPD veteran and Hermitage Precinct midnight shift officer, said the post was meant to be sarcastic.

Hermitage Precinct supervisors became aware of the post at 3 p.m., police said — about three hours before Anderson released a statement addressing the fatal police-involved shootings of two black men: Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, La., and Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn.

“I am extremely concerned and disturbed by the videos and the accounts we have heard thus far coming from Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights,” Anderson said in that statement.

Officers claimed Sterling had a gun during the incident in the parking lot of a convenience store, representing an active threat to police officers.

In an unrelated shooting captured on video Wednesday, Castile was shot by police in Falcon Heights during a traffic stop while reaching for his driver’s license.

“Our training emphasizes the sanctity of human life,” Anderson said. “I have confidence in the men and women working to protect the people of this city, their moral ethic, the skills they possess, and their ability to make appropriate decisions in difficult situations.”

He said officers receive over 220 hours in use of force instruction, including de-escalation skills.

You can reach Ariana Sawyer at 615-815-5933 or on Twitter @a_maia_sawyer.