A sergeant in the Tennessee State Guard has been reprimanded after engaging in a conversation on social media alluding to running over anti-fascist activists with a military cargo truck.
The Tennessee Department of Military confirmed that Casey Gillespie, who apparently took part in the public discussion with another man on Gillespie’s personal Facebook page, remains a sergeant in the volunteer arm of the department.
Screenshots posted online by Nashville Antifa show Gillespie posting about the anti-fascist group’s Jan. 3 clothing and food distribution initiative in downtown Nashville, apparently warning others to look out for the group.
The local antifa chapter, which put up antifa flags nearby, was joined that evening by fellow activist groups Nashville Anarchist Black Cross and Middle Tennessee Autonomous Network as they handed out food and supplies to the poor.
‘Drive on through’
“Antifa in downtown Nashville on Capital Blvd.,” Gillespie wrote. “Theres (sic) not many of them. Stay Safe!”
Another man commented soon after, “Man I wish I could drive my deuce and a half LOL,” referring to a military cargo truck.
Gillespie replied that he had seen no counterprotesters.
“I wouldn’t be counterprotesting I’ll be looking for blocked streets LOL,” his friend wrote.
“That deuce could drive on through!” Gillespie replied.
Though Randy Harris, director of joint public affairs for the Tennessee Department of Military, said that the other man “sort of led the charge on this and Gillespie just sort of commented on it,” he added that Gillespie was still in violation of the agency’s policy and Gillespie’s leadership had “counseled him and they have disciplined him.”
Screenshots of the since-deleted Facebook page show that Gillespie had identified on his public profile as being a sergeant in the Tennessee State Guard.
When reached by phone Thursday, Gillespie declined to comment or offer an explanation about the posts.
Harris confirmed that the other man was not a member of the Tennessee State Guard.
Sergeant remains in guard after being ‘counseled’ on social media policy
Though antifa activists have, in some cases around the country, engaged in physical combat with members of far-right groups at rallies and protests, conservative media has pushed theories alleging the anti-fascist movement is a terrorist group.
“Our regulations prohibit things such as this being shared on social media,” Harris said, regarding Gillespie’s posts online. “It’s completely unacceptable, and it’s not reflective of the organization or the Tennessee Department of Military as a whole.”
Harris said he was unsure how long Gillespie had been a member of the Tennessee State Guard.
A sergeant in Harris’ office “will meet with the Tennessee State Guard as a whole and ensure that they are, down to the man, aware” of the agency’s social media policy.
“The social media is hard to police,” Harris said.
According to a social media policy distributed to the Tennessee National Guard and Tennessee State Guard in June, “online misconduct” includes using either an official social media channel or personal profile for “harassment, bullying, hazing, stalking, discrimination, retaliation or any other types of misconduct that undermine dignity and respect.”
No specific course of action is spelled out for such a violation of policy, though the memo notes that administrative sanction, termination, written counseling or suspension are among possible outcomes.
Nashville Antifa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident, though online posts show the organization had encouraged activists to contact the Tennessee State Guard to report Gillespie’s conduct.