School resource officer fired after investigation into white nationalist ties

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT/WHSV) — UPDATE (April 18):

The Chesterfield County Police Department says a school resource officer who was investigated for possible ties to a white nationalist group has been fired.

Police say Daniel Morley was a school resource officer at L.C. Bird High School.

He was accused in March of being involved with Identity Evropa, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Online postings and activities attributed to this officer were reviewed, and once authenticated, the officer ... was administratively suspended,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

Police say the investigation into Morley began after a tip from the The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“I can now confirm that the target of our investigation was indeed Mr. Morley, and today, I can confirm that his employment with Chesterfield County has been terminated,” Col. Jeffrey Katz said.

Identity Evropa was founded in 2016 by Iraq war veteran Nathan Damigo, and has branded itself as an "identitarian organization," but they have directly stated their goal is to carry out a culture war to create a "90 percent white" America and were one of the key organizers of the Charlottesville rally in August 2017 that ended with deadly violence.

They're credited with popularizing the phrase "You will not replace us" among white supremacist and white nationalist organizations, but their focus is heavily targeted toward distributing propaganda throughout college campuses in the U.S.

In fall of 2017, just months after the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, the group targeted James Madison University and Shenandoah University for propaganda flyers.

There's no word on exactly how involved Morley was in the group's activities.

Col. Katz also issued the below statement:

Policing in today’s polarized society is challenging. Successful policing requires relationships rooted in trust. While I will not get into specifics of this personnel matter, I want you to know that my decision to terminate Mr. Morley is predicated on the well-founded belief that his affiliation and online activities make it impossible for him to carry out his duties in a way that would contribute to the building of trust and the maintenance of legitimacy our police department shares with our supportive community.

Our community deserves to know the men and women of their police department respect and revere them – whoever they may be. It is true that Mr. Morley has a First Amendment Right to free speech and association. However, the views espoused by and attributed to Mr. Morley violate county and departmental policy and our organizational values; his continued employment is antithetical to the expectations of our personnel and those we serve.

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ORIGINAL STORY (March 18):

The Chesterfield Police Department is investigating allegations of a school resource officer's affiliations to a white nationalist group.

Chesterfield Police Chief Col. Jeffrey Katz wrote in a statement, “I’m aware of alleged online activities of one of our officers & committed to determining if accurate. There’s absolutely NO PLACE for intolerant behavior in public service & we will not accept affiliations which even remotely lend themselves to predispositions of bias. Period."

The officer has been accused of being involved with Identity Evropa, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In response to comments on Facebook, Col. Katz confirmed the officer was immediately “removed from his access to children,” as the investigation continues.

“Identity Evropa members insist they’re not racist, but ‘identitarians’ who are interested in preserving Western culture,” the SPLC says.

The group owes its style and ideology to the European identitarian movement.

It was founded in 2016 by Iraq war veteran Nathan Damigo, and has been conscious of its branding, with a heavy focus on distributing propaganda throughout college campuses in the U.S.

In fall of 2017, just months after the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, the group targeted James Madison University and Shenandoah University for propaganda flyers.

Though they have described themselves as an "identitarian organization," they have directly stated their goal is to carry out a culture war to create a "90 percent white" America. Damigo, their founder, expressly forbade Jews from joining the group, and their application form asks for people of "non-Semitic heritage."

The group was also one of the key organizers of the Charlottesville rally in August 2017 that ended with deadly violence.

They're credited with popularizing the phrase "You will not replace us" among white supremacist and white nationalist organizations. It was a chant heard repeatedly in Charlottesville.

The organization has a simplistic and replicable logo, a teal triangle with three lines that join in the middle.

The SPLC says the group uses “meme-able aesthetics” to lure in young people and then encourages them to become activists on college campuses, which Damigo has described as “the epicenter of Cultural Marxism in America.”

“The organization’s overarching goal - implemented through their #ProjectSiege campus flyering operation, banner drops broadcast over social media, demonstrations and “open dialogue” campaigns - is “taking up space” with their ideas and imagery in the hopes of eventually, through the sheer force of repetition, mainstreaming their ideology," the SPLC website says.