Another Officer Loses His Job To Facebook

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – A veteran Fort Lauderdale police officer’s comments on Facebook about black people have cost him his job.

Former Patrol Officer Jeffery Feldewert, 45, wrote “Typical Hoodrat Behavior” in a Facebook post that also included a photograph of a black man being arrested by white police officers. A caption for the photo read, “BLACK PEOPLE. Because without them, the evening news wouldn’t be as much fun to watch,” according to his agency.

Feldewert’s Facebook comments were made in December 2014 in response to a Facebook post about three African-Americans who were involved in a bar fight, according to Police Chief Franklin Adderley’s June 11 dismissal letter to the officer.

Adderley said Feldewert’s postings showed a lack of sound judgment and poor performance.

Feldewert has worked as a police officer in the city for two decades.

A civilian replied to Feldewert’s Facebook comments, writing, “I hope you are not a cop as well because you have a strong opinion about an entire race which I can only imagine clouds your judgment. SAD!” Adderley’s letter states.

The police department also objected to an image on Feldewert’s Facebook profile of a skull wrapped in an American flag, with a Fort Lauderdale police badge on the forehead.

A portion of the words “SAVAGE HUNTER” appeared beneath the design and “reflects a negative image of our agency,” Adderley wrote.

Feldewert declined to comment Monday. Adderley also was not available.

Feldewert was suspended with pay on April 22 when an internal affairs investigation began into his use of social media, but his pay was stopped on June 11 when he was notified of his pending dismissal.

Adderley’s letter said Feldewert’s last day with the department is July 10.

Feldewert violated department policies that prohibit employees from displaying city or police logos, seals, badges, patches or uniforms on social media sites, as well as rules against speech that maligns or ridicules or otherwise expresses bias against any race, religion or protected class of people, according to the chief’s letter.

Feldewert is being represented by the Fraternal Order of Police and is trying to get his job back.

“We did file an appeal for his reinstatement, but I can’t comment further pending the outcome of the appeal,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Mike Tucker, who is vice president of the union’s local.

The union requested a hearing for Feldewert within the next 10 days that may happen with City Manager Lee Feldman or his representative, Tucker said.

An agency spokeswoman said the investigation into Feldewert’s use of social media is “not related in any way” to the five-month inquiry of personal cellphone texts and a movie trailer parody that the city found were racist and led to the resignation of one officer and dismissal of three others in March.

Three of those former officers — James Wells, Jason Holding and Christopher Sousa — are appealing their terminations and will be going through arbitration, Feldman said in an email. The fourth officer, Alex Alvarez, resigned and is not seeking reinstatement.

From The Sun-Sentinel

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