I don’t usually take pleasure in the misfortune of others.
At least not to their face.
But over the past week or so I’ve been bombarded with Google alerts about ignorant people who seem not to appreciate the difference between freedom of speech, which employees have, and freedom from the consequences of their hateful words, which most employees generally lack.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
(Caveat: This all comes from published news reports, people are innocent until proven guilty, everything here is “alleged”, yadda, yadda, yadda).
The Kaplan, LA police department sacked one of its officers last month. Apparently, the officer posted a comment on Facebook that said it was “unfortunate” that more black people did not die of COVID-19. Since that would appear to conflict with this duty to protect and serve, the officer was fired within hours.
Last week, Lexington Medical Center fired an employee after the employee allegedly used a racial slur – a derogatory term for African Americans – in a social media post on a Columbia TV station’s Facebook page about the George Floyd protests. Kinda tough to hang onto your hospital position with a mouth like that (allegedly) when your job involves providing care to all members of the community.
Also last week, a shift sergeant at a detention center was fired after supposedly posting on Facebook, “If he can scream he can breath (sic), something else was going on. I’ve been pepper sprayed with CS gas and it messes with your breathing but you can definitely still breath (sic).” Once word got back to the police department, it didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop for the shift sergeant.
A brewmaster learned the hard way that hate-speech is a two-way street. A local brewery near me fired its head brewer after it claims it learned about the brewmaster’s inflammatory Instagram post advocating violence against the police.
A trombonist in the Austin Symphony Orchestra — well, ex-trombonist in the Austin Symphony Orchestra — allegedly posted “The BLACKS are looting and destroying their environment. They deserve what they get.”
(Patience, we still haven’t gotten caught up to this week yet.)
Over the weekend, a court clerk in South Carolina allegedly posted on Facebook, “Anyone protesting are obviously unhappy with their own life… shoot their a**, lock them up, stop their food stamps… take their children… they are showing their true colors… I’m upset about what happened but I would not destroy someone’s property… they are a piece of s***!!!!” On Monday morning the City of Darlington, SC fired the clerk.
And while we’re on the “legal professionals” portion of this blog post, a South Florida prosecutor is now unemployed after supposedly posting, “When will people learn that their criminal acts and obnoxious protesting actually gets you nowhere?” she wrote. “Act civilized and maybe things will change. I’ve never seen such animals except at the zoo.” The attorney claimed that this applied to everyone regardless of race, but then deleted the post. Too late.
A NY police officer supposedly posted a meme, “Black lives only matter to black people unless they’re killed by a white person” and a few emoji. The police department suspended and then fired the officer.
Another protest meme, another police officer fired.
(Should I keep going? Sure…)
Here’s one about a former school bus driver who supposedly suggested that protesters should be treated like rabid dogs.
Here’s another one involving a different school bus driver who supposedly posted “Just give them all some watermelon and they will be happy and go home.” Uggh.
A Denver police officer supposedly posted a picture on Instagram of himself and others with the caption, “Let’s start a riot.” How do you think that ended?
A Tennessee police officer supposedly posted on Facebook that “open fire should have been issued on anyone participating” in the Minneapolis riots. Speaking of which, the officer was fired.
There was also a another handful or so about folks fired; although it’s not clear what exactly they may have posted.
Here’s hoping for fewer Google Alerts in the coming days and weeks.