Public Safety

2 Vermont State police troopers resign following allegations of offensive language at off-duty party

Vermont State Police
Photo courtesy of Vermont State Police

Updated at 5:08 p.m.

Two Vermont State Police troopers have resigned following accusations that they used offensive language in an online party game.

The resignations of Nathan Greco and Nathan Jensen took effect on Friday, according to a press release issued by the agency. They had previously been put on paid leave while police investigated the allegations.

The agency described the resignations as “voluntary” but also said that Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison and the State Police Advisory Commission agreed that the troopers’ actions warranted discipline “up to and including termination.” 

“The comprehensive investigation was unable to substantiate every allegation raised against the troopers, but the information that was corroborated represented a serious violation of the Vermont State Police Code of Conduct,” the agency wrote in the release.

VTDigger first reported in February that Vermont State Police had been alerted to complaints that troopers had used racist and misogynistic language at an off-duty gathering at one of their homes. Four troopers and their significant others were in attendance, according to a guest who spoke with VTDigger.

State Sen. Nader Hashim, D-Windham, a former state trooper, was alerted to the incident by a constituent, according to records obtained at the time by VTDigger, and he subsequently brought it to the attention of state police. 

Commissioner Morrison, who oversees the Vermont State Police, initially declined to open an internal investigation, the records showed, saying there was not enough information to pursue the matter further. But two days later, after receiving more detailed information — and after VTDigger began reporting on the incident — Morrison ordered an internal investigation 

During the off-duty party, attendees played an online game in which they wrote rap lyrics, some of which used racist, homophobic, misogynistic and sexually explicit language, according to archives of the game viewed by VTDigger.

Players used the N-word and other racist slurs, as well as the homophobic F-word and a slur targeting people with intellectual disabilities. One line, allegedly written by Jensen, reads, “If being racist is right then I’ll never be wrong.”

According to Friday’s release by state police, the investigation uncovered no indication that the two troopers “displayed bias in their policework,” despite the nature of their off-duty actions. The troopers also apologized for their behavior, according to police. 

On Friday, police said they considered the matter “closed” and had found no evidence that other troopers had violated state police’s code of conduct.

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Ethan Weinstein

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