Mississippi Police Officer to Appeal Over Facebook Firing

August 4, 2014

A former Greenville, Mississippi police officer wants a federal appeals court to reinstate her wrongful firing lawsuit against city.

Oral arguments are Sept 3 before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Former Sgt. Susan Graziosi argues officials violated her free speech rights by firing her over comments posted on a social networking site. She was fired in 2012 after posting criticism on Facebook about Police Chief Freddie Cannon’s decision not to send department representatives to the funeral for a Pearl police officer killed in the line of duty.

According to the lawsuit, the posting to the mayor’s Facebook page read: “Dear Mayor, can we please get a leader that understands that a department sends officers (to) the funeral of an officer killed in the line of duty?”

She posted further comments directed at Cannon, writing “we had somethings (sic) then that we no longer have … LEADERS. If (Cannon) suddenly decided ‘we couldn’t afford the gas’ (how absurd — I would be embarrassed as chief to make that statement) he should have let us know so we could have gone ourselves” and “if you don’t want to lead, can you just get the hell out of the way.”

The lawsuit was filed against the city, then-Mayor Chuck Jordan and Cannon.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mills ruled in 2013 Graziosi’s venting on Facebook was not accorded First Amendment protection. Mills said Graziosi had a chain of command she could have used to raise her concerns about Cannon’s decision.

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