Former Tulsa Police Officer Sues City For Wrongful Termination
TULSA, Oklahoma - A recently fired Tulsa police officer has filed a lawsuit accusing the City of wrongful termination.
TPD fired Wayne Brown, after he'd been out of the police academy a month over social media posts that some said were racially and politically offensive.
The lawsuit says Brown being fired violated his right to free speech.
The lawsuit says at no time during Brown's background check, his six months in the police academy or his one month on the job as an officer, did he exhibit any signs of bias or discrimination. It says he was only fired for posts he made or shared 3 to 6 months before being hired.
Wayne Brown was still a probationary employee, which means he was not protected by the collective bargaining agreement and could be fired at any time; however, his attorney says that firing cannot violate public policy, like freedom of expression.
Brown's attorney says Brown was a free citizen not connected to the City of Tulsa when the posts were made or shared, making Brown's termination, a violation of his constitutional rights.
Scott Wood, Brown's attorney, said, "It's a shame this happened and we're going to do everything we can to make it right and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."
The lawsuit says when Brown was being fired, he asked if he could tell his side or the story or talk directly to the police chief, but was told no.
His attorney says the posts were from 2013 through 2016.
Scott Wood, Brown's attorney, says, "I don't think anything I saw pushed over the limit or made me think there's something wrong with this person's judgement or whatever," Wood said.
He doesn't believe you can look at some social media posts made years ago, and have a complete picture of who the person is today.
Scott Wood, Brown's Attorney, says, "I would ask everyone to be introspective about that and think of some of the things you did when you were 18, 19, 20 years old. We used to call it, a mistake of youth. Now, that concept is completely gone," said Scott Wood, attorney for Wayne Brown.
The City of Tulsa says they cannot comment on pending litigation.
Read the lawsuit: