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Fargo cop ordered to teach peers about social media pitfalls after his 'hang urself' Facebook post


FARGO – A Fargo police officer who told someone to “do us all a favor and hang urself” during a Facebook debate about a police shooting has been ordered to teach other officers about the pitfalls of social media.

Police officials gave Officer Zach Messmer the option of receiving a letter of reprimand or teaching three courses to new officers about how to avoid making a similar mistake, said Lt. Mike Mitchell, a police spokesman.

Messmer, a former school teacher, chose the educational option, which is a new form of discipline the Fargo Police Department is experimenting with, Mitchell said.

“Officer Messmer lost his composure for a split second, sent something he regretted sending and kind of got himself into a bind,” Mitchell said. “He understands what he did was wrong.”

Messmer came under investigation this month not long after a University of North Dakota police officer shot a man on Feb. 28 during a pursuit in Grand Forks.

WDAY-TV posted a story on Facebook about the nonfatal shooting, and a commenter, writing under the name Darryl Danielson, demanded that police release more details of the shooting and wrote, in part, that, “UND Cops will shoot at anyone they please.”

In response, Messmer wrote: “Darryl ….u should do us all a favor and hang urself?”

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