MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has weighed in on the controversial Facebook comments made by a Miami-Dade Fire Department Captain in the Trayvon Martin case.
Fire Captain Brian Beckmann’s online rant is being described as racist by some people and has created quite a controversy. The controversy is not just over what he wrote but whether he had the first amendment right to say it.
At a Miami-Dade commission meeting Tuesday morning, CBS4’s Jawan Strader asked Mayor Gimenez whether he thought a county employee should be held accountable for remarks they make in a public forum such as Facebook or Twitter?
“If it brings discredit to the county as a whole, there are rules I know from the place I used to work before, then yea, things that you did, even on your own time could be held accountable for it if it brought ill repute to your organization. This obviously did,” replied Gimenez. He added, “We’re going to see if the same rules apply here.”
Captain Brian Beckmann has since deleted the post, but a screencap was published on TheGrio.com last Friday.
His personal Facebook posting read, “I and my coworkers could rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racist profiling or products of their failed, *expletive*, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents.”
The Beckmann post went on to say, “They’re just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn’t have anything to do with why people wonder if they’re about to get jacked by a thug,” according to the Facebook post.
When contacted about the post, Beckmann told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald that he was a ‘private citizen and have the same right to freely express an opinion on any subject that anyone else does’.
In the county’s 11-page social media policy, there is just one paragraph regarding personal opinions that reads “do it on your own time, make clear that you are speaking from your own point of view.”
South Florida civil rights leaders are planning to protest Wednesday in front of the Stephen P. Clark building in downtown Miami. They want Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade Fire Chief to formally discipline Captain Beckmann, especially since Mayor Gimenez called on the Miami Marlins organization to discipline manager Ozzie Guillen last week for his controversial comments concerning Fidel Castro.