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Police Chief Resigns In Arkansas After 'Death To All Marxist Democrats' Messages

The police chief of a small town in Arkansas resigned Saturday after posts attributed to him calling for violence and harassment against Democrats were widely circulated. The town's mayor says the inflammatory remarks don't reflect the community.

Lang Holland, the now-former police chief of Marshall, Ark., posted the messages on Parler, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The social media site is frequently used by conservatives.

Statements from an account using Holland's name include "Death to all Marxist Democrats" and "Take no prisoners leave no survivors!!" according to images of the posts that were shared online by reporters from Little Rock TV station KATV.

Another message said, "Never let them forget they are traitors and have no right to live in this Republic after what they have done" — a seeming reference to the presidential election.

The profile also shared fringe QAnon conspiracy theories and claimed the election was stolen, NPR's Hannah Allam reports. One post shared an image showing Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other Democratic figures in prison jumpsuits. The caption said that anything less than hanging them was "not acceptable."

When the posts attracted attention, Holland initially claimed no involvement, according to KATV's Viktoria Capek. But he subsequently resigned after being questioned about the messages, Mayor Kevin Elliott said in a news release.

Elliott strongly condemned the posts, saying, "The Marshall community does not in any way support or condone bullying or threats of violence to anyone of any political persuasion!"

Parler has often been dubbed the "conservative alternative to Twitter." The site describes itself as a place where one can "Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being 'deplatformed' for your views."

News of Holland's resignation comes as violent rhetoric from pro-Trump circles continues after Joe Biden's win in a hotly contested presidential election.

Twitter permanently suspended an account associated with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon last week after he suggested in a video posted online Thursday that Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded.

Following the election, Donald Trump Jr. also fanned flames with his comments calling for his father to wage "total war over this election."

Holland made news earlier this year for refusing to enforce Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's coronavirus mask mandate. Holland said at the time that he believed the threat of the virus had been overstated.

Holland couldn't be immediately reached for comment Monday. He served as police chief in the town of about 1,330 people for two years.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.