California police officer with ties to Proud Boys is fired

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A California police officer with ties to the Proud Boys was fired on Friday, authorities said.

Rick Fitzgerald, a former Fresno officer, was removed from the department after video surfaced of him last month gathering with far-right protesters in YouTube footage posted by a former Proud Boy.

The ex-officer has previously said in online posts that he previously was affiliated with the Proud Boys and encourages people to join the extremist group, The Fresno Bee had reported in March.

He had said on a podcast that he was part of the local Proud Boys group for roughly a year, rising to leadership levels, before leaving, the newspaper reported.

“Effective today, the Fresno Police Department has separated itself from Rick Fitzgerald, and he is no longer employed with the City of Fresno as a police officer,” Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said in a statement.

“I stand by and reassert my prior comments in strongly disapproving of any police officer affiliating with hate groups,” said Balderrama.

“The integrity and legitimacy of our police department must be maintained.”

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