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Illinois Officer Fired Over Ferguson Facebook Comments

September 30, 2014  | 

The Elgin (Ill.) Police Department has fired an officer for making disparaging remarks on Facebook, including a comment about the Ferguson, Mo., teen shot dead by police, officials said.

Officer Jason Lentz lost his job because of conduct that undermined the city's credibility and violations of the police department's social media guidelines, according to department officials, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The department put him on leave Aug. 21 after he allegedly made a provocative comment in response to a news story about slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown purportedly stealing cigars.

"Hmmm … innocent victim my ass," the comment said. "Did society a favor."  

Lentz’s attorney, Tim O’Neil, has said that Lentz’s alleged comments were protected speech because the officer made them on a private account on which he did not identify himself as an Elgin employee, and because he was speaking about a matter of public concern.


Comments (36)

Displaying 1 - 36 of 36

Concerned Citizen @ 9/30/2014 4:41 PM

In the Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth is a Revolutionary act. - George Orwell Officer Jason Lentz has character and integrity. You can't say the same about The Elgin (Ill.) Police Department! Best of luck Officer Lentz! Hope you can find a good spot in the USA where the TRUTH is ENCOURGED not Discouraged! There are people in parts of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska that are like-minded. They wouldn't mind a GOOD LEO like yourself!

Roadblock @ 9/30/2014 4:56 PM

Welcome to the USA where the criminals have more rights than the victims and the cops sworn to protect them! Our veterans are rolling over in their graves in cemeteries all over the world.

Tom Ret @ 9/30/2014 4:59 PM

The officer's comments are not only protected speech but accurate as well! Apparently, if you are in law enforcement you can't state your opinion unless it conforms to what is politically correct.

Chuck @ 9/30/2014 5:24 PM

Really, this guy is fired over that remark. our freaking ruling class politicians call us jack booted, militarized thugs, (in public and on the television) jump to conclusions and find us guilty of EVERYTHING before the smoke can even clear and this officer gets fired because he posted something (on a private account) doesn't tow the line and go along with the agenda. Doesn't pass the smell test.

Joe G. @ 9/30/2014 5:32 PM

In this America political correctness is the new truth. All cops who patrol minorities areas have to walk on egg shells because you might offend the bad guys.

SGT @ 9/30/2014 5:49 PM

Sure glad I am retired. This officer needs a good attorney to sue his department for violation of his first amendment rights, as long as he was not on duty and did identify himself representing the department.

Someone needs to kick that Chief's ass out into the cold world of reality! I agree, with officer Lentz, INNOCENT VICTIM MY ASS! FURTHER, any creep that bullies people like Brown, has met true justice. Come on you silly wobbly Ill PD, get a life!

ktyhawk @ 9/30/2014 6:23 PM

The PC police trump the real police. Bovine excrement.

Chief Thomas Boyd @ 9/30/2014 6:24 PM

God bless the thin blue line

Capt. Crunch @ 9/30/2014 6:56 PM

Since Obama, came into power we lost our freedom of speech. I guess it is true we have a Muslim president. May our God, help us.

kevCopAz @ 9/30/2014 7:33 PM

I agree with all! If he had ID himself in ANY WAY or mentioned his department then fine can his ass, but this is behind the pail, he had a right to say things as much as the next person. Don't give me the crap that he does not have the right to be an officer, do officers give up all our constitutional rights when we take the job? Can our homes be searched without warrants, we don't have the right to remain silent, we don't have the right to a trial, can our property be taken by the state without due process. The answer now is NO! But if this is allowed, what will happen next? Perhaps all of those rights will disappear once we pin a badge on. The officers in that department should all strike quit or just slow down to a crawl let the ass of a chief get out from his desk and be a street cop again (IF he ever was).

Allan @ 9/30/2014 8:10 PM

Since he didn't identify himself I fail to see what business it is of the department. The only reason his connection with the department is even known is because of actions by the department. I hope he takes some kind of action.

Nightstalker @ 9/30/2014 9:23 PM

Nothing like that punk-ass doing a 211 holdup and than saying he was a victim and than all of this, I can see why being a cop now is so stressful. Take your money and retire!!!!

Mitch @ 9/30/2014 9:37 PM

Too ALL my young brothers and sisters in blue (and the military,NSA CIA FBI) Delete those fricking fb accounts. Times are ugly and its only getting worse. It is the decade of picking on blue and its only going to get worse.

TheRookie @ 9/30/2014 10:03 PM

I'm not referring to all the citizens, but one must consider the State of Illinois & the PC enforcers from there.
But it's okay to have 1981 Philly Officer Daniel Faulkner cop killer Wesley Cook turned "Muslim Mumia Abu-Jamal released from death row via Erik` von With-Holder's assistance. Now Goddard College is having him give their Commencement Graduation Speech. These types of Political Correctness hacks have now spilled over into Law Enforcement Administrations, Their actions, and beliefs.
Officer Lentz move to the State of Kansas where agencies are always recruiting to hire L.E.O's. & they support them to do their job(s), too.

westcoastleo @ 10/1/2014 1:07 AM

Over and Over again I see FB accounts getting officers in trouble. Dump them or use an AKA or what ever you have to do to keep yourself out of the headlines. But, Lentz I commend you for your statement, I feel the same way about it and I wish you the best... Get that good attorney and sue your department and all the rest of them paper hangin SOB's...

FairnessForAll @ 10/1/2014 3:08 AM

Our President is not Muslim people...thin blue line, it's time you guys take a long hard look within, you really have hate issues, and it's starting to manifest itself outwardly. Stop hiding behind badge, and make some changes so the people will trust in you all again. Hatred is what's destroying this country, from the inside out.

FairnessForAll @ 10/1/2014 3:12 AM

Criminals go to jail, or hell...whichever one they belong and that is a good thing. Start holding each other accountable for what you do and say as well. People are getting tired of the hate mongers who hide behind their badges, and protect one another even when you know they were wrong. Not all officers are bad, but don't blame the president or society as a whole when one of your bad apples are exposed for the cowards they are. I love the men and women in blue who protect and serve daily while putting their lives on the line. THANK YOU who are good and do your jobs well. Shame on those who promote hatred and racism, it has to end. Begin with the "man" in the mirror!

A profesional officer @ 10/1/2014 5:50 AM

I know from my infrequent visits on the website that it caters to immature know it all's. Good job police chief in Elgin; fire that fool; and for the rest of you who think this fired officer represents our profession, please do not police in my neighborhood; yes you can say what you want to if you are willing to be held accountable.

BT @ 10/1/2014 5:57 AM

Hey FairnessForAll, you obviously are not a LEO or you never would have made
such stupid comments. Every time a white officer shoots a minority it becomes
a national media story, justified or not, and then the protests start. That my friend, is racism!

Tom Ret @ 10/1/2014 6:35 AM

Fairness For All-When you make statements such as " not all cops are bad", it implies that most are bad, at least in your mind. A lot of us on this forum have
done the job for decades so STFU. Don't come on this forum and tell law enforcement how to think. You may not agree but then you have no experience actually doing the job, do you!

A Professional Officer-who do you work for, the politically correct thought police? Maybe you should be fired for expressing your opinion if your boss doesn't agree with you!

Greg @ 10/1/2014 7:20 AM

"Hate Mongers?" Take a look at who the haters are in Ferguson (Chicago, NY, DC, Brimingham, Detroit). Ooops, can't do that, they're black. Muslim cuts the head off an older white woman...workplace violence..no race or religion involved...he beheaded her out of LUV. Pathetic Ferguson Chief peeing himself to make the thugs happy (which of course, didn't work).

Hmmm, how about scum mummia being a speaker at a college in VT...that's true hatred.

24OTJ @ 10/1/2014 7:38 AM

The first amendment only frees you from persecution by the government not from an employer. If you were the public face of a corporation and made inflamatory comments they are within their rights to no longer employ you. Just because a police department is a govenrment agency does not make the case one of either persecution or prosecution they are simply no longer willing to employ somone who makes reckless comments that may reflect negatively upon the department. Each of us are free to have our opinions but if you want to keep a job a certain level of discretion must be used. Even though you may have the right to say what you want, that doesnt mean it is the right thing to say. Bottom line is their are no actions that are void of consequences and we are held to account for the actions we choose to take. In my opinion Officer Lentz chose poorly in this instance. His words though breif had the ability to place himself, his fellow officers and his department under multiple levels of risk

Capt. Crunch @ 10/1/2014 9:12 AM

@ Fairness, pertaining to Obama, if it talks and walks like duck, it must be a duck.

Mitch @ 10/1/2014 12:42 PM

to profesional police officer. You are neither. You are the same jerk that writes under the name of fairness for all.

GBush @ 10/1/2014 12:47 PM

6 more years until retirement.......

DonRKelly @ 10/1/2014 1:27 PM

Wow, just looking at a few of the posts on here, some people just don't seem to get it. It's OK to express your opinion that someone may be guilty or innocent, though as professional police officers we should know better than rushing to judgment. It's not OK to use disparaging remarks or advocate extralegal solutions. "...did society a favor." Yeah, I can see this is a comment about the end result rather than the planned course of action, but how much heat do you expect a politician to take for you because of a poor choice of words?

mitch @ 10/1/2014 1:51 PM

to DonRKelly This officer did not post anything relating to him being on the job or even working for a government entity. He has the right to free speech. You may not like his comment but what exactly did he do that you feel is wrong? Is he not allowed to have his own thoughts and feelings. I think you are off base and pandering to your bosses. I will say it again the pc of this country is mind numbing. Social media is a career ender for any public employee. Whats next Don if an officers wife (or husband) posts something offensive is that officer going to get fired.

AH Bloom @ 10/1/2014 7:26 PM

If Officer Lentz did not associate himself with his department, then this should fall under a frees speech issue (unless this department can fire Officers at will). May I suggest that Officer Lentz consider contacting The Rutherford Institute and get their opinion on the issues ( www.rutherford.org ).

132&Bush @ 10/1/2014 7:40 PM

He should have read the Police article by Sarge about watching what you post.

TheRookie @ 10/2/2014 3:23 AM

A professional officer try using the moniker, "A Professional Idiot" because that's what you are. If you're a cop then I feel sorry for your colleagues. Same goes for you DonRKelly. Your PC crap & attitudes is why good officers are injured and/or killed in the line of duty. I'd rather have a hard nosed hard azz back-up or partner than a PC goody tissue department butt kisser.

eric @ 10/2/2014 4:10 AM

Just because he did not identify himself in his post as being a cop specifically, doesn't mean that his profession was not known by individuals that he posted to. The bottom line for all cops...stay the heck off of facebook, keep your personal thoughts and beliefs to yourselves, and keep your mouths shut! The unruly tongue đź‘… is deadly poison and the downfall for most individuals. I've been in law enforcement for 17 years, so I know what I'm talking about.

aj @ 10/2/2014 12:12 PM

There is case law that gets his back. I likewise do not identify as a city or PD employee on any personal web site. Besides the fact, what he said was no biggie...

TheRookie @ 10/2/2014 4:28 PM

eric,
Absolutely agree with that. I retired in 2010. In 24 years I never had a computer other than the MDT or a department one. I refused to take one every time they tried to issue me it, kept a flip cell phone, & had no email other than department issued. This is the closet I come to social media. Zero FB, twitter, instagram, Google+, etc. They're all a scam & set-up in my opinion.

plato's playdough @ 10/3/2014 3:49 AM

This FairnessForAll dude is another kind of Lenny. FFA dude, why would YOU lie?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQyQvcKXN9s

I do not see how his Muslim faith is a big deal, it is fundamentalism that is always the problem. In any faith. Fundamentalists see only THEIR world as valid. They cannot get outside of their own paradigms, while in that world. I was raised as one. Thank God I learned more, because I read alot.

It isn't like President Obama is lying about it, or like the media tried to cover it up.

There are those who say they believe the Bible was God-breathed to the writers and translators of that text, yet have not read much of it. There are Christian pastors who openly admit that certain specific commandments and Deity-sanctioned activity could never be countenanced in our current world. Fundamentalists disagree about that, saying that all text is Divine Word reflecting Deity's Will.

1st Amendment protects Religious Freedom. Stop bashing that.

plato's playdough @ 10/3/2014 3:58 AM

Like Deuteronomy ch 11 v 24, nobody really believes THIS is valid anymore, right?

http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/11-24.htm

Gives several different versions of translation, no really, check it out.

plato's playdough @ 10/3/2014 4:15 AM

To 24OTJ:

You may be interested in http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/3002

Please reference definitions in 15 (a) on that webpage.

I read
(15) “United States” means—
(A) a Federal corporation;
(B) an agency, department, commission, board, or other entity of the United States; or
(C) an instrumentality of the United States.

Doesn't SEEM to be ambiguous to ME.

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