Devout faith-head Jacob Kersey is now making suing noises
CIVIC leaders in Port Wentworth, Georgia, are to receive a petition on Friday calling on the mayor and city council to apologise for their “discriminative” treatment of former Officer Jacob Kersey, 20, above.
Kersey, a turbo-charged Christian bigot, quit the police department in January after he was placed on paid administrative leave after refusing to remove a Facebook post regarding his belief about marriage.
More than 30,000 people have signed the petition, but among the many messages of support on his Facebook page—peppered with silly religious posts—one person correctly pointed out that:
Marriage has been around long before Christianity appeared, so I may need an explanation how your God has an ownership over marriage. Get a life.
A number of news outlets had suggested that Kersey was fired. He wasn’t. He resigned in January after being reprimanded for the post, which he refused to remove. He was put on administrative leave.
According to a letter of notice from the Port Wentworth Police Department, Kersey was placed on leave on January 4 while the city conducted an investigation into the Facebook post as well as other communications, including Kersey’s podcast, in which he discusses issues related to right-wing Christian causes.
The investigation found that Kersey’s posts and podcasts were “likely offensive to protected classes and could raise reasonable concerns regarding [his] objectivity in the performance of [his] job duties when a member, or suspected, member of the LGBTQ+ community is involved.” However, the probe did not find a violation of specific policies.
While the department did not explicitly encourage Kersey to resign, the letter issued a warning about his ability to perform his duties equitably as a public employee:
Please understand that the City of Port Wentworth respects your right to express yourself so long as such expression is not otherwise unlawful or impairs your ability to fully perform your job duties as a police officer … you must always be able to perform your job without any hesitations, and impartially, and must be perceived by those we serve as doing so.
Cue First Liberty Institute (FLI)
In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Kersey, above, acknowledged he’s retained First Liberty Institute as legal counsel in order to:
Stand up for the rights of other police officers to ensure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else again.
Kersey offered this explanation for his resignation:
I am resigning due to the following three reasons. First—the department’s handling of the situation, specifically that I was led to believe that I had been terminated.
Second—the promise of a new policy which I believe will violate my freedom of speech and deeply held religious beliefs.
Third—I was given an ultimatum that I could resign now or be terminated later for violating a new department policy which has yet to be released and made available for me to read.
FLI is urging the city and police department to issue “a public statement committing to respect the First Amendment rights of its police officers” and stated that new policies on social media, which the department is developing, should be consistent with First Amendment rights as well.
Stephanie Taub, senior legal counsel for FLI and Kersey’s lead attorney said:
The first step is to meet with the city and the police department and construct a new policy that respects the First Amendment rights of its employees. Our main focus here is to prevent police officers like Jacob [Kersey] from being forced to choose between abandoning their religious beliefs or losing their jobs.
Taub said the organization has yet to receive a response from the city and that legal action is on the table.
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