The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and its police chief have been sued for First and 14th Amendment violations for firing an officer allegedlly to appease local Muslims.
"In a cowardly act of political correctness, the city of Tulsa and its chief of police fired a good officer because local, left-wing political activists complained about certain Facebook posts allegedly made by our client several years prior to his hiring as a Tulsa police officer," said Robert Muise, a co-founder of The American Freedom Law Center, or AFLC.
The case in U.S. District Court alleges the city and Police Chief Chuck Jordan violated the federal civil rights of the officer, Wayne Brown.
The officer was dismissed, Muise said, when "local political activists complained to the city about conservative social media posts Brown had made several years prior to his hiring."
"These activists play the race and anti-Islam cards every chance they get because they hate white, conservative, Christian police officers. It is a shame that the Tulsa police leadership was so willing to throw officer Brown under the bus to appease these radicals. While the Tulsa leadership might side with these anti-police activists, I can assure you that the rank and file do not," continued Muise.
The complaint alleges: "On or about September 4, 2019, Defendants, acting under color of state law, terminated plaintiff's employment as a police officer with the city of Tulsa Police Department (hereinafter 'TPD') because of the content and viewpoint of certain social media posts allegedly made by plaintiff several years prior to the city hiring him as a police officer.
"It is well settled that a state cannot condition public employment on a basis that infringes the employee's constitutionally protected interest in freedom of expression."
The complaint contends the city's actions "violated his rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution."
The officer also has filed a notice of a state claim seeking the maximum $175,000 in damages.
AFLC senior counsel David Yerushalmi explained: "Shortly after our client was fired, the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood / Hamas front group, launched a press release crowing about the firing and making its predictable 'Islamophobia' attack against the officer. If you are a Christian or a Jew and oppose the Shariah-supremacy advocated by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, CAIR will label you an 'Islamophobe' in an effort to marginalize you and your beliefs. It appears that CAIR may have played a role in our client's firing. We intend to find that out during the course of discovery."
The messages in the Facebook posts the city used to fire the officer included "I support Darren Wilson" and a warning to "Look what's going down in Austin, Texas today" with an image "Texas Muslim Day." Others were "Don't mind me Just watering my hippies" on the image of a police officer using a water hose on protesters, an image of Michelle Obama with the message, "Go back to Chicago and take your South Chicago values and your socialist family with you" and an image of Donald Trump on a lion.
The posts were made many years before Brown applied to be an officer.
One of the groups that praised the firing at the time was the Oklahoma affiliate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which was "an unindicted co-conspirator/joint venture in one of the largest terrorism financing trials prosecuted by the U.S. government," the complaint states.
"Persons who oppose or are critical of CAIR's nefarious, Islamists agenda are labeled by CAIR as 'Islamophobes' in an effort to marginalize and ultimately silence their speech," it says.
The officer, shortly before his firing, had been attacked in a Facebook post by Marq Lewis alleging Brown "has biases towards people who practice Islam and Black Americans."
The complaint explains it was Lewis "and/or those working in association with him, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma" who complained.
The case describes Lewis as "a local, radical, left-wing, political activist and agitator who has disdain for white police officers and hatred for President Donald Trump."