A deputy down in Georgia made some disparaging remarks on the main outlet from communication these days. Officers find they walk a line that is a lot thinner than the blue line when they make ignorant remarks. He identified himself on his Facebook page as a captain working for the Barrow County Sheriffs Department. This is where, as a police officer, you can get into trouble. He definitely said some things that could be labeled as racist but they are his own opinion that he has made public. If he was posting off duty, the department could not discipline him fro the remarks. He does work for a sheriff’s department and most of those are very political and when you do something that embarrasses the sheriff, you will be departed.
This captain left by resigning which means there’s more to the story than just his Facebook postings. There’s always more to the story. He called President Obama a “Camel Jockey”. Fortunately, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t care too much for most politicians and I am not a fan of most presidents but I attack the policies or practices not the person. He should have known better than that. When a lawyer has a terrible case in court, he will attack the officer’s character and it’s a dirty game to play designed to make the officer feel terrible. Stay away from personal attacks and ignorant remarks when on social media. Why this generation documents their thoughts then broadcasts it to the world, I still don’t understand.
A supreme court case, Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), states that government workers, like police officers, do not have first amendment protections in the course of their duties basically. The captain would have been safe. If he posted something on Facebook while at work criticizing a decision by his department, he could be disciplined. Still the lesson here is police yourself when posting and do it off duty. If you do criticize the department and embarrass the bosses, they will find something else or way to get you. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to this former captain.