The Concerned Citizen

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Seriously Chief Dean!

Commentary by: Jillian A. Cohen |  ja_cohen@theconcernedcitizen.net

While contributing reporters at The Concerned Citizen rarely, if ever, comment on events that occur outside of the Norman-BrooksDistrict of Columbia, we must say that a decision to reassign and investigate a city firefighter, because of comments posted on his personal facebook page that may have violated department policy, is utterly ridiculous and has garnered our complete attention and concern.

Although we, as law abiding citizens, may not agree with the use of words posted in protest by firefighter Norman Brooks, following an obviously intense and emotional incident involving the shooting of a African-American man in Louisiana, we do; however, support the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, by law, supersedes any local agency’s internal social media policy and gives firefighter Brooks the right to his freedom of speech.

The First Amendment: prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances”

Here’s a thought Chief Dean. How about investigating real issues such as; arson, mismanagement (the need to use contractors to service city residents due to a lack of manpower and medical apparatus), the inability of your department to keep up with the supplies and equipment necessary for personnel to perform their jobs efficiently, etc.

Maybe city officials need to investigate you Gregory Dean, considering that you, as Fire Chief, are ultimately responsible for the department’s fiscal inefficiency. Oh, did I mention the moral issues that have been allowed to permeate throughout the department for years. Maybe you, Chief, should investigate your management team to discover why the department has been managed so poorly over the years. In other words Chief Dean, citizens of the District think have a few more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

Furthermore, myself (recent law school graduate) and others at The Concerned Citizen believe that DC residents should not have to sit back and watch their hard earned tax dollars go to lawyers who are trying to defend the Fire Department against another law suit that is simply impossible for them to win.

Chief, firefighter Brooks did not commit a crime or break any laws that would warrant any criminal prosecution by the US Attorney’s office or punitive action by your department. Surely you don’t think that internal department policies can override rights guaranteed to every American by the constitution of the United States, do you? If so, let me tell you, that battle has already been fought and won in the highest court of the land. So let’s not infringe upon or deny fighter Brooks or any US citizen his or her constitutional rights, even though we may not agree with what is being said.

America is great, let’s keep it that way.

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