Clay detective writes that Fargo man banned from pools should have his guts 'stomped'
MOORHEAD, Minn. -- A Clay County sheriff's detective suggested in an online post this week that a man banned from Fargo's public pools for taking photographs should have been physically attacked, though the detective says his post was meant as sa...
MOORHEAD, Minn. -- A Clay County sheriff's detective suggested in an online post this week that a man banned from Fargo's public pools for taking photographs should have been physically attacked, though the detective says his post was meant as satire.
Detective Jason Hicks said his Tuesday morning post on the Facebook page of WDAY-AM talk show host Jay Thomas was not to be taken literally. In the post, he said "somebody should of stomped his guts out," referring to Kirk Ludwig, a 37-year-old man who drew the attention of Fargo police after he was observed taking photographs Monday at the downtown Island Park Pool, which was full of children on a warm summer day.
"I did it on my own time and it's protected speech," Hicks said Wednesday afternoon. "It's satire. Obviously I didn't mean it in the (literal) sense."
Hicks said the post was a quote from the movie "Full Metal Jacket," in which a drill instructor says it during basic training.
Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said he hadn't heard about Hicks' posts until he was contacted by The Forum on Wednesday.
"I have not heard about it, but I can guarantee, I'm going to look into it," Bergquist said.
Bergquist says the sheriff's office briefs its members on how they should conduct themselves when using social media.
"If they say anything contrary to the Sheriff's Office, that is not acceptable. We will definitely be looking into it," Bergquist said.
Hicks said he would not encourage anyone to actually commit violence against someone else.
"As long as it's not inflammatory, things that are protected (speech) are fine," Hicks said.
He added that his comments were not a reflection of any stance of the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
Ludwig was banned from the grounds of all Fargo city pools, though police said he wasn't doing anything illegal and that his actions did not reach the level of disorderly conduct.
Fargo Park District and police officials said Ludwig's behavior was concerning enough to trespass him from the city's public pools partly because he had demonstrated similar behavior in the past in Fargo and elsewhere.
Ludwig was charged with two unrelated misdemeanors after the incident. While he was being interview by detectives at Fargo police headquarters, a drug-sniffing dog walked around his car, which was parked near the station. The dog detected the odor of drugs and a search of the car found a small amount of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.
Ludwig hasn't responded to multiple attempts to reach him for comment.