SAUK RAPIDS -- Two members of Sauk Rapids’ volunteer fire department have been released from service after posting “troubling comments” on social media related to protests in the wake of the fatal arrest of George Floyd.

Sauk Rapids Police Chief Perry Beise did not share the names of the individuals, or details about the content of the comments, but says they are no longer associated with the department.

A letter sent Monday announcing the decision to release the two firefighters was signed by Beise, Sauk Rapids mayor Kurt Huntstiger, City Administrator Ross Olson, and Fire Chief Jason Fleming.

“The city of Sauk Rapids takes the concerns that have been raised regarding these comments seriously,” the letter states. “The comments in no way reflect the position of the city of Sauk Rapids, its fire department, city staff or the city council, and are contrary to the core values and mission of the city and the Sauk Rapids Fire Department.”

Officials say the city council enforces a code of conduct prohibiting violent, threatening, harassing, intimidating or other disruptive behavior by those who represent it. 

“Threats of violence and racism are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the city of Sauk Rapids,” the letter says.

Protests gripped the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area over the weekend, along with cities across the United States. Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, appealed for peace Monday in the aftermath of riots and arson fires following Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested on multiple charges and is currently being held in a maximum security facility. Charges are expected for three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest.

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