Federal court decision lightens load of Garcetti v. Caballos

A former probationary  officer, Jason M. Jackler,  fired for refusing to recant his complaint of an excessive force complaint against a police officer, was vindicated in federal court, bringing some sanity to the Garcetti v. Caballos Supreme Court decision. Garcetti established a rule stripping public employees of their free speech rights if they are speaking in the course of their official duties.

In the case of the probationary officer, the appeals court found the employees still had some rights, “The panel reasoned that the Garcetti Court did not completely eviscerate public employees’ free-speech rights if the employee speech has a clear analogy or connection to citizen speech — a ‘citizen analogue,”’as it’s called. The panel noted that Jones, the disorderly conduct suspect [and the alleged excessive force victim], had a First Amendment right to complain about excessive force by the police. Therefore, a police officer like Jackler has a ‘citizen analogue’ and should also have the right to make statements about excessive force and not be compelled to retract them.” -db

From a commentary for the First Amendment Center, July 28, 2011, by David L. Hudson Jr.

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