The Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police Department is looking into a derogatory email a police major sent to her colleagues in August that said people who are part of antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement are "punks" who are not important, a spokesman said.
The email was written by Maj. Bridget Hallahan, who commands the police department's Fifth Division.
Hallahan, 47, confirmed to NBC News on Thursday that she sent the email and said fellow officers have been supportive. She also said she retires in six days.
Phillip Bailey, a journalist in Louisville, tweeted screenshots of the email Tuesday evening. He said it had been provided to him by an unnamed law enforcement source.
A police spokesman, Sgt. Lamont Washington, said the department was made aware of the email and is looking into it.
At a news conference Friday, Interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder said Hallahan's email contained her "personal opinions and do not represent the views of this department."
Schroeder said Hallahan has been relieved of her command and "has accepted responsibility" for her email. He said she will retire Oct. 1.
The email begins by saying: "I know it is hard to keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves sometimes, especially when we, as a whole or as an individual, become the target of people in the public who criticize what we do without even knowing the facts.
"These ANTIFA and BLM people, especially the ones who just jumped on the bandwagon 'yesterday' because they became 'woke' (insert eye roll here), do not deserve a second glance or thought from us," it continues. "Our little pinky toenails have more character, morals, and ethics, than these punks have in their entire body."
"Do not stoop to their level. Do not respond to them. If we do, we only validate what they did. Don't make them important, because they are not. They will be the ones washing our cars, cashing us out at the Walmart, or living in their parents' basement playing COD for their entire life."
"COD" refers to the video game "Call of Duty."
Hallahan goes on to say, "If you need to bitch about it and get it off your chest, come to my office and we can vent together." She also claimed that officers "are being doxed merely because people just don't like being told what to do or what not to do by police."
Hallahan's email was met with backlash, some of it from Louisville residents.
Nicole Griffin of Louisville wrote on Twitter: "I live in Louisville & I'm hurt & disgusted by this email from Major Bridget Hallahan @LMPD Why does she view the community like this. How is this helpful? I don't know one soul who is in Antifa??? And if they wash cars or cash someone out at Walmart there's no shame in that!"
Anti-fascist activists are often known as "antifa." Another Twitter user, who identified himself as a retail worker, wrote: "She can say whatever she wants. If we in retail don't do our jobs correctly we get fired. They get a slap on the wrist and a free job in another county. Mind you if we in retail all don't do our jobs they don't eat. no one eats."
Lonita Baker, one of three lawyers representing Breonna Taylor's family, addressed the email without naming Hallahan at a news conference Friday.
"I want LMPD majors who say that we're the ones out here washing cars or checking you out at Walmart, no we're not. We're lawyers. We're business people. We're city employees just like you," Baker said. "And guess what? Even if I was washing your car, it doesn't matter. I have a right to use my voice."
Baker said the police department must change its "mentality of who you're fighting."
"We know that we need healing. We know that this city needs healing and we're willing to do our part," she said. "But you have to do your part. And until you start doing your part, we won't heal."
"We're here," Baker added. "We're here when you're ready to listen to us. "
Screenshots of Hallahan's email were posted to Twitter the same day an email from one of the wounded officers at the center of the Taylor case, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, surfaced. In the email, Mattingly apologized to his fellow officers and their families, defended his actions during the raid of Taylor's home and said Mayor Greg Fischer and others "failed all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses."
Mattingly was shot in the thigh by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, during the fatal drug raid March 13, which recovered no drugs or money.
Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove returned fire, and a third officer, Brett Hankison, began blindly shooting through Taylor's window and patio door, according to Hankison's termination letter. Taylor, who was struck six times, died. None of the rounds fired by Hankison struck Taylor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a news conference Wednesday. Hankison was fired in June.
On Wednesday, Hankison was charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. None of the officers were charged in Taylor's killing. Mattingly and Cosgrove face no charges. Cameron said his investigation showed that Cosgrove and Mattingly "were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon." Cameron said a grand jury agreed.
Walker has said that police did not identify themselves before they burst into the apartment and that he mistook them for intruders. He has said he would never knowingly fire at police. Cameron said Wednesday that officers had properly "knocked and identified themselves."
Mattingly told his colleagues in the email, which was sent a day before the grand jury's decision was announced: "I don't know a lot of you guys/gals but I've felt the love."
"I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night," he wrote.