• Volusia Beach Patrol officer fired over Trayvon Martin Facebook comment suing county


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A Volusia County Beach Patrol officer, fired for a controversial Facebook post about Trayvon Martin wants his job back, and a payout.

    Todd Snipes is arguing that his freedom of speech was violated.

    In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, Snipes said the public should have never seen that Facebook comment because it was on a private page.

    The lawsuit was filed against Volusia County.

    "Violation of his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, violation of the Fourth Amendment, violation of the 14th Amendment," attorney Jason Harr, who is representing Snipes, told Channel 9's Kenneth Craig.

    Snipes claims he had the right to post his personal opinion on his Facebook page, and he said his profile was private.

    The post, which came out just after George Zimmerman was acquitted on charges of murder in the death of Martin, read: "Another thug gone! Pull up your pants and act respectful. Bye bye thug rip."

    "What we have, a bigger problem, is how the county, through its internal investigation, obtained that comment," said Harr.

    Herr said Snipes was originally being investigated for sharing a controversial cartoon about Paula Deen.

    He claims the internal affairs investigator directed a subordinate, who was Facebook friends with Snipes, to look for additional postings and that's when they found the one about Martin.

    "The process in which he was treated was regretful," said Harr.

    Harr and Snipes also said his right to due process was violated because the county manager had publicly stated he was angry about the situation, before he made the decision to fire Snipes.

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