Flint Police Officer fired over Facebook post

FLINT (WJRT) - (08/20/15) - Fired over a Facebook post.

That's what happened to a Flint City police officer after he posted a comment on his personal Facebook page.

The City of Flint said that post violated their social media policy.

The officer's attorney, Tom Pabst, said this is a matter of free speech - plain and simple. He says his client and his Facebook post are protected by the First Amendment.

"What are they, the speech police? You can't fire a guy for expressing his opinion like that," Pabst

A post on Facebook led to some serious consequences for veteran officer Rob Garceau.

"They are citing that he posted something on social media that they felt was inappropriate and they claim was a violation of rules and regulations," Pabst said.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, ABC12 News has a copy of the post in question.

Pabst says it relates to a recent murder in Flint handled by the Flint Police Department.

The post said, "Keep purging society of the maggots. 2 less welfare, food stamp people. Keep it up."

"He wasn't on duty, this is America, he's got the right to say what he wants on Facebook. We all do. I mean. it's our First Amendment right, pure and simple, and I thought everybody understood that. I guess the City of Flint doesn't," Pabst said.

Pabst is also representing Garceau and eight other Flint police officers in a race discrimination lawsuit that dates back to 2012. The suit claims they were passed over for promotions that were given to less qualified black officers.

Pabst suggests Garceau was targeted because of his involvement in that suit.

"He puts his life out on the line for the City of Flint and this is how they treat him. They don't like what he said, so they fire him," Pabst said.

Pabst plans to file suit against the City of Flint soon for wrongful termination. He said he wants to go on the record by saying his client will get his job back.

"They think they're above the law, but they're not. They are going to find out they're not," Pabst said.

A spokesperson for the City of Flint said they would not be commenting on the investigation at this point.



 
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