Conn. dispatcher keeps job after Newtown comment
- Associated Press
- January 10, 2014 - 9:45 AM
BROOKFIELD, Conn. — A public safety dispatcher in a Connecticut town bordering Newtown is being allowed to keep his job despite an outcry over a comment he posted on Facebook about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
Gregory Beck is a dispatcher in Brookfield and lives in town. Referring to a tribute called "26 Days of Kindness" in honor of the 20 children and six adults killed at the Newtown school in 2012, Beck wrote on Facebook in November that his kindness would be distributing ammunition to his friends. He later apologized.
Brookfield's Board of Ethics decided Thursday to take no disciplinary action against Beck, who posted the comment from his personal cellphone while on the dispatcher job, the News-Times of Danbury reported (http://bit.ly/1cUgsV7 ). The board could have recommended discipline ranging from reprimand to termination.
On Tuesday, Beck told town officials he was resigning from the local school board because of the comment, only two months after being elected for the first time.
Beck's lawyer, Brian Parrott, told the Ethics Board that the comment didn't interfere with Beck's job performance.
"There should be no doubt that Mr. Beck was utilizing his First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution ... when he made his poorly timed, insensitive remark referencing the 26 Days of Kindness," Parrott wrote in a letter to board.
He added, "Mr. Beck, all along, has admitted to the stupidity of the statement."
Parrott said there was no legal basis for disciplinary action against Beck.
Police Chief Robin Montgomery has said no disciplinary action against Beck was planned.
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