Anchorage firefighter suspended after Facebook posts about Presi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Anchorage firefighter suspended after Facebook posts about President Obama surface

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A part-time firefighter for the Anchorage Fire & Ambulance Districts has been suspended over social media posts he allegedly made about President Barack Obama.

Screenshots of the social media posts provided to WDRB News appear to show comments made from a Facebook account associated with the name "Donald Lee Baker." The comments appeared in response to a post referencing President Obama's address at the funerals of the police officers murdered in Dallas.

"Would someone please put a bullet in this [EXPLETIVE]'s head," one comment from the "Donald Lee Baker" account stated. "He has no respect for anyone in uniform and no respect for America. He is a worthless piece of [EXPLETIVE]."

When someone responded, confronting the poster about the comment and accusing him of threatening the president, the Facebook account associated with the name "Donald Lee Baker" responded, "Carrie, I've been in the law enforcement field. It's not a crime because I didn't threaten the president nor would I ever it's a figure of speech because that's all he's good for."

"It's scary, and it's sad, and I wish people would maybe just think before they say something," said social media expert and CEO of Mediaura, Andrew Aebersold. 

Aebersold said the firefighter's post and the one made by a Metro Corrections sergeant this week are damaging. While the United States values freedom of speech, the First Amendment does not protect against consequences at the workplace.

"If you're talking about something that relates to your professional career, it bleeds over from just your personal opinion and becomes whether you want it to or not, maybe the opinion of your professional  entity itself," Aebersold said.

Even if you have a private account, he said your posts can still be made public.

"I think a lot of people are a little emotional when they're doing this. They don't take a minute to take a deep breath to say, 'should I really be saying this,'" Aebersold said. "It's the same thing ten years ago when we're typing emails, and maybe I should think before I press send on this email. Maybe you should think before you post that publicly."

In a statement released Thursday, William Rockwood, Chief of the Anchorage Fire & Ambulance Districts, confirmed that a part-time firefighter named Donald Baker has been suspended pending the outcome into an investigation into the social media posts. In his statement, Rockwood called the posts, "extremely troubling and inappropriate."

"The District does not condone or allow the use of inappropriate conduct or language by its employees in person or through instant technology," Rockwood wrote. "The opinions of the employees of the Anchorage Fire Protection District do not express the opinion of the Anchorage Fire Protection District. If made on duty or off duty, or through the use of District equipment, this may result in disciplinary action, up to termination. This matter is under investigation immediately. Mr. Baker has been suspended pending the investigation."

WDRB News has reached out to the "Donald Lee Baker" Facebook account for more information.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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