Fired Anniston, Alabama Police Officer turns bitter as City Council approves an Anti-Hate Group Policy
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Via The Anniston Star:
"The Anniston City Council approved a policy earlier this evening to discourage city employees from holding membership in hate groups.
The Anniston personnel policy amendment states employees could be disciplined or fired if they belong to hate organizations or are involved in activities of hate or violence against individuals or groups of people. The City Council approved the policy change at its regular meeting after City Manager Brian Johnson fired an Anniston police officer with ties to a Southern secessionist group in June.
Mayor Vaughn Stewart said Johnson recommended the policy change to the council.
"Anytime the city manager can clarify in-house policies, it's a sound initiative so that future employees can enter the workplace with their eyes open and know what's expected of them," Stewart said.
The council passed the amendment after tabling it at a previous meeting, when a couple of residents expressed concern that the wording was too vague. Other than a few grammatical changes, the policy remained the same.
Prior to the meeting, city attorney Bruce Downey said that specifying everything that could be considered hate or a hate group would be an impossible task.
"It's a pretty general statement entirely consistent with the First Amendment," Downey said. "It's a statement of the obvious."
The policy amendment states an employee could be subject to discipline or even firing if he or she is involved in "conduct, activities, speech, participation or membership of events, associations or groups that advance, promote or condone hateful, violent or invidiously prejudicial actions against individuals or groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability ... that impedes the performance of his or her duties or interferes with the operation and efficiency of the city."
Downey noted that the policy was shown to be valid when the Anniston Civil Service Board last month upheld the firing of former Lt. Josh Doggrell. The former police officer appealed to the board after Johnson fired him in part because of his membership in the Alabama-based League of the South and statements he made to the group two years ago.
The League advocates Southern states’ secession from the United States and the creation of a nation for whites only.
Doggrell’s firing came after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Montgomery-based civil rights group, posted a story about his membership in the League on its website in June. The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the league a hate group, and says the league has become increasingly militant, racist and anti-Semitic in recent years.
"We just went through a highly publicized incident and we didn't have the policy when we did it (the firing) and the Civil Service Board confirmed it," Downey said.
Councilman Seyram Selase said he approved of the policy change.
"It's an important that we're promoting an inclusive and safe work environment for both city employees and citizens," Selase said."
Restoring the honor!