The City of Fargo says it's doing an internal investigation after an employee on Facebook suggested pipeline protesters who don't leave should be fenced in, shot, and left to drown.
Twitter user Emmy Scott took a screengrab of the comment, which was made on the Valley News Live Facebook page earlier this week.
The Forum reports the Facebook user, Enos Lien, has been a meter technician for Fargo since 2000.
The comment prompted the city to put out a statement, saying administrative staff members are aware of the comment, and that it's being reviewed internally.
"It is important that the public is aware that these comments do not reflect the City of Fargo’s position on human rights," the statement said. "The City of Fargo continues to respect and support the safety and dignity of all people."
Lien was not on the job while it was posted, the statement says, but the user's profile does show he works for the city.
Protesters were cleared from the Cannon Ball-area camp Thursday. Those who refused to leave were arrested. Officials had said flooding in the near future is very likely, and were worried about the danger to human lives, as well as the possibility of waste and garbage from the camp being swept into the nearby Missouri River.
Worker admits 'not the best choice of words'
"Thank you all for your support and criticism. It may have not been the best choice of words. I was just frustrated at all that is going on out there with tax payers dollar and law enforcement resources. It's just to over the top."
Family members have also been defending him.
A woman who said she's his sister wrote that he's a "hard worker and great husband and a wonderful dad, then continued: "maybe the wording wasn't the best choice but no one can really say that they have never been frustrated to the point that you say things and they are put out there in the wrong way."
And his son said, while he doesn't support his dad's comments, he does "support him as a person" and knows his father would never act upon the comments. Another family member said the screengrab covers up Lien's original post about how sad the situation is.
His family members have also said they've gotten harassing messages since the post was reported on. (By the way, here are some options if you're the target of online harassment.)
Others still have argued Lien's comments are protected by free speech – even if you don't like the sentiment.
But critics have pointed out you can be frustrated or angry, and express those emotions, without suggesting people should die.