Before the Clinton era, Americans respected their president. Not necessarily the man or his politics, but the office at the very least. That changed when right-wing hatred of the Clinton family sparked a partisan war that ended in the examination of Bill Clinton’s personal life and his impeachment. Since those events, it has become open season on the President of the United States for anything you can think of, with no respect for the man or the office present in those with different political allegiances. In an incident that illustrated that point, officers in Richmond, Virginia who were assigned to guard Obama and the First Lady made comments that were sexually inappropriate about Michelle Obama and threatened the life of the President. A Secret Service investigation came to the conclusion that they had broken no laws with their speech, and two officers were fired. Now, the man who blew the whistle has also been fired.
Raw Story reports on the original events:
“There was an officer providing exterior security [sharpshooting] to the president on that day on the phone with the supervisor,” the whistleblower explained to WTVR last May. “The supervisor said to that particular officer, ‘you’re down there right? So, you can take a couple of shots, you might have to kill yourself, but you can take a couple of shots.’”
And “another officer in the background started talking and he said, ‘yeah, somebody should plant a bomb underneath the stage while they’re on there and blow it up,’” the source said.
Inappropriate remarks were also made about Michelle Obama.
“Nobody wants to see her anyway — unless she gets undressed or get [sic] naked,” an officer allegedly said.
The whistleblowing officer was fired for conducting an interview with a local news station, which reported on the original incident using him as an anonymous source. As they report,
Multiple sources confirmed that police unscrambled the effects of the whistleblower’s statement on tape to CBS 6.
The man told CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones he was ordered to police headquarters Tuesday afternoon where he was met by a several high-ranking police officials. The officials, he said, informed him of his termination.
The man said Wednesday morning he returned to police headquarters to pick up a packet of information. Included in that packet, he said, was the reason he was fired.
The reason, he said, was because he violated police department policy by doing an interview with CBS 6 about the a May 5 incident involving the President and the First Lady.
Because he submitted the tip on the condition of anonymity, he should not have been fired. Your First Amendment rights do not halt when you enter your place of work, and the way this Richmond officer has been treated for trying to hold others to a standard of presidential respect is despicable. An attorney interviewed by WTVR stated the following:
“There’s no question that this will have a chilling effect upon other members of the police force who will be afraid if they speak out about a matter of public concern.”
And that’s exactly it. Punishing police officers for blowing the whistle on department wrongdoing is a slippery slope to set foot on.
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