PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nordstrom has fired a sales associate who made a statement about killing police on his Facebook page.
Aaron Hodges, 37, of Portland, suggested killing a white officer for every black man killed by police. His comment quickly circulated online, prompting complaints both online and directly to his employer.
Nordstrom spokeswoman Tara Darrow said the department store chain does not tolerate violence, violent conversation or “threats of any kind.”
Hodges, who is African-American, said Tuesday he’s troubled by the police killings of Michael Brown in Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and Tamir Rice in Ohio, and he made the Facebook comment in an exchange with a friend from high school. Hodges said he sometimes says outrageous things to “bring things into scope” and didn’t literally mean that white officers should be killed.
“I’m a black Mormon, so there’s no way I could be racist,” he said. “I’m just passionate about black issues because nobody else seems to be.”
Hodges said a manager from the downtown Portland store called him Friday to say people were calling nonstop and he must remove references to his Nordstrom employment from his Facebook page.
The next day, Hodges said, a manager told him to stay away until Wednesday, because there had been a death threat.
“And then the store manager called me on Sunday and was like: ‘We can’t support you anymore Aaron. We got to let you go.’”
Given the flood of complaints, Hodges said he understands why Nordstrom fired him, but he doesn’t understand why someone took a screen shot of his Facebook comment and destroyed his livelihood.
“I would never think to do something like that,” he said. “If you and I have a problem, I handle it with you. I don’t go behind your back.”
Hodges said he worked at Nordstrom for six months in the sportswear department and won an award for customer service. Now unemployed, he plans to print about 50 resumes this week and hit the streets looking for a job.
“Whatever job I’ve had, I’ve excelled at, so I’m not worried,” he said. “All I need is a foot in the door.”