Florida school resource officer fired over Facebook posts

Officer Jason King posted several photos, some from videos, with offensive captions or messages to his Facebook page

A Florida city has fired a school resource officer for social media posts his police department deemed to be ‘offensive, insulting, and derogatory.’

Jason King is appealing his April firing from the Gainesville Police Department.

King was a resource officer at an elementary school. An internal affairs report said King made wrote several derogatory Facebook posts about President Barack Obama and gays and lesbians.

However, he maintains that the offensive postings were on a page that neither showed his name nor his employer.

King told investigators he realized many posts were ‘taboo’ but he was ‘creating an opportunity to have dialogue,’ and that he disagreed with some of them.  

‘I realize that the topics that I present are taboo and could have a negative effect on all of the classes and the members that I am actually a part of,’ King is quoted in a GPD Internal Affairs Division report. ‘I’m creating an opportunity to have dialogue, to have discussion…I could be an asset.’

In one posting he referred to former President Barack Obama as ‘a c**n’ and in another implied that gay people are not ‘saved’ the same way Christians are.

In other postings, King addressed human trafficking in Libya. King blamed the situation on a power vacuum in Libya following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011

The post of the photo stated, ‘Here’s y’all great black president slick and smooth talking y’all into believing that killing Gaddafi was right….’ 

‘…these are the things that anger me. So my expression out of an emotion is what I expressed,’ King is quoted as saying.

Another post shows the picture of a woman with the caption, ‘it’s not about gay to straight; it’s about lost to saved.’

King told the investigator he shared the post to show support for a woman who was once ‘living a homosexual lifestyle’ but returned to heterosexuality.

King was dismissed from his job as a resource officer at an elementary school because it was felt his comments would reflect badly on the community

King was dismissed from his job as a resource officer at an elementary school because it was felt his comments would reflect badly on the community

‘Officer King states this post references the biblical principles of living a lifestyle of homosexuality and receiving Christ as your savior, being redeemed and saved, which is the concept of salvation,’ the report said. ‘He went on to say that he supports this post because it celebrates the opposite perspective of celebrating someone who is openly gay and homosexual.’

King was fired as a result of the postings after it was felt the postings reflected unfavorably on the city and its employees. 

Despite the posts being posted anonymously, it is not clear how the messages came to the attention of investigators. 

‘The above post/comments will not maintain camaraderie among officers and would not build trust within the community,’ the report said. ‘And furthermore the above post whether done on or off the job would tend to affect Officer King’s relationship to his job, fellow workers’ reputations or goodwill in the community.’ 

The firing was the culmination of something that began the year before when he also faced disciplinary action for his social media activity according to the Gainesville Sun.

He was told at the time that he could lose his job if he continued.  Investigators said King’s posts made ‘offensive, insulting, and derogatory statements’ that undermined trust among officers and within the community.  

‘The majority of a Police Officer’s job functions include interacting with people of all races, national origin, religion and sexual orientation on a daily basis,’ the report states. ‘Officer King’s actions contained offensive, insulting, and derogatory statements based on protected characteristics and was improper of him.’

King’s attorney, Catherine Gleason, said he believes he was terminated without just cause. 

‘He is seeking review of this multi-faceted investigation and his subsequent termination,’ Gleason said in an email to the newspaper. ‘Jason is hopeful that once the review is complete he will be able to return to work and continue serving a community that has always embraced him.’ 

King is appealing his firing and has a hearing June 25 and hopes to make his case to City Manager Anthony Lyons.  

He is the second GPD officer in six months to face discipline for social media posts. 

In December, Officer Michael Hamill resigned after making posting about the Holocaust and the killing of millions of Jews by Germany.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk