Police officer fired for Facebook post - WNEM TV 5

Police officer fired for Facebook post

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A Mid-Michigan police officer has been fired for comments on his personal Facebook page.

"We got it from a citizen who saw these comments and was so enraged that they made us aware of these statements," said Flint Police Chief James Tolbert said.

The officer, Robert Garceau posted to his Facebook account:

“Keep purging society of the maggots. 2 less welfare, food stamp people. Keep it up.”

Tolbert was so outraged by these comments he recommended he be terminated immediately.

"When you say something you have to be prepared to back that up and you have to be prepared for the repercussions of what you said – you don't say anything in a vacuum," Tolbert said.

Garceau’s lawyer, Tom Pabst, said his termination was a violation of his free speech.

"We are all protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution,” Pabst said. “That means that you got a right to say what you want as a private citizen – I’ve got a right to say what I want say.”

Garceau had spent 20 years on the job, and Pabst said he is outraged.

The officer has since taken his comments down, however, Tolbert said the damage is already done.

"You talk about that tenant of which we operate and something breaks that,” Tolbert said. "Then we want to tell someone to work with us and we want to tell someone, tell us what you know or we are working hard on your case. Well if they believe this is what we think, where is that trust?"

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