NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville district fire chief is in trouble after several of his Facebook posts were published on a local blog.
District Chief Tim Lankford has been pulled from the field and is now doing administrative work while the Nashville Fire Department continues its investigation.
In a letter to Lankford from Deputy Director Steve Holt, the department began investigating when the posts were published on the blog EastNashville.News.
The letter goes on to say that the Facebook posts were perceived as “racial, stereotypical, and threatening toward members of the public.”
One post from Lankford says he was “so disturbed” by the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling last year that he could “barely function at his job.”
Another seemingly threatens members of the LGBT community, saying, “The first man who goes into the restroom with my daughter won’t have to worry about the surgery.”
The Department told Lankford he allegedly violated its social media policy because his Facebook identified him as a member of the Nashville Fire Department and his rank of District Chief.
He also allegedly violated a city civil service rule of “conduct unbecoming.”
News 2 investigated when a public servant’s speech is protected and where First Amendments rights come into play.
Attorney Doug Pierce says public employees have a First Amendment right to say what they want but that doesn’t always mean they’ll keep their jobs.
“Government employees are expected to do their job without partiality,” Pierce explained. “You have a right to expect they’re going to treat you fairly regardless of your race, sex, age, and religion,” he continued.
And he is the latest public servant who has been in hot water for social media.
Last week, two Lebanon police officers were placed on leave for their comments on Facebook. One of them has since resigned.
That same day, a Shelby County sheriff’s deputy was suspended without pay over his Facebook post about the Black Lives Matter movement