Police Officer Lance Luckey, Two Other
By Ron Williams
Columbus Firefighter Brad Alexander made a post on his Facebook page, last week, that he wishes he hadn’t. According to one Columbus official who wished to remain anonymous, it was “derogatory” in nature.
Two other Columbus firefighters ‘Liked’ the post and ended up being suspended at the Columbus City Council meeting Tuesday evening. Alexander had already resigned over the incident. Columbus Police Officer Lance Luckey also ‘Liked’ the Facebook post, but later said that he had only seen part of it on his phone and submitted his ‘Like’ before reading it in its entirety and reading the comments that followed.
I’m not sure why Alexander resigned. The popular firefighter seems to have jumped the gun, in my opinion. Firefighters Erik Minga and Damon Estes also ‘Liked’ the post and were handed 30 day suspensions, without pay, at the recommendation of Columbus Fire Chief Ken Moore at Tuesday’s council meeting during executive session. Minga and Estes reportedly admitted reading the entire post by Alexander and later apologizing, accepting their suspensions.
Officer Luckey, on the other hand, apparently did what I and a lot of other people have done on Facebook: ‘Liked’ something before completely reading what was said.
In suspending (for 30 days without pay. RW) Officer Lance Luckey Tuesday evening, Councilman Gene Taylor, Joseph Mickens and Fred Stewart (along with Mayor Robert Smith, who broke the tie vote that sealed the suspension. RW), subsequently crippled Luckey’s family by taking away his means of earning a living. This good officer, who has been praised by judges, fellow officers and almost anyone who knows him, was stripped of providing for his family for the next month. And let’s not leave out Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen, who had the audacity to recommend such a harsh sentence after a career that could include a few mishaps of his own along the way. (And I’m not sure that ‘Liking’ a Facebook post could come anywhere close in comparison! RW). If you need specifics about some of those McQueen mishaps, I can certainly provide details in a future column!
Then we have the mayor breaking the tie! This is the same mayor who got into a cuss fight with Councilman Kabir Karriem at City Hall with no repercussions! Doesn’t matter who was right or wrong in that case. The fact is, he suffered no suspension…no nothing!
And what about Ward 2 City Councilman Joseph Mickens? This is the same guy who voted against the firing of former Chief Joseph St John, because he supposedly wanted to give him a “second chance”! Where is that sentiment in this case?? (Oh…I forgot. Mickens had to look into the faces of a packed Municipal Complex courtroom that night, most all of whom were there supporting St John, and saw many of his (potential voter) constituents! He faced no such thing Tuesday. That had to make it easier on him to ‘vote his conscience’! RW)
These are the type of cases that lawyers love and can pick apart. But none of that will help when Lance Luckey’s young daughter comes crying to her mom and dad because she’s worried about having a Christmas this year! Think I’m being melodramatic? Think about losing an entire month’s salary and trying to provide for your family when you are the major breadwinner, and trying to pay your light bill, put food on the table, buying your daughter what she needs for school, etc.!
I’m thinking that these tough guys who handed down that suspension is not thinking of any of that! I’ve seen a lot of appalling things out of some of these current so-called city leaders. But this one might be the worst one yet!
They should be ashamed!
Kudos to Charlie Box, Kabir Karriem and Bill Gavin for voting against the suspensions! I’m proud of you!
Benefit Ride for Cancer Victim Robert Faine this Saturday
There will be a benefit ride starting at 2pm this Saturday, September 8th at Johnny Kelly’s and ending at Waverly Marina. It’s $10 to ride and participants will get a BBQ Chicken dinner when they get to the Marina. Fast Scarlet will be playing from 8-1. Anyone who doesn’t ride but just wants to come out and help can come anytime throughout the day and the BBQ chicken dinners will be sold for $10. Robert Faine has cancer in his lungs and lymph nodes. He is undergoing chemo and radiation and will not be able to return to work. Diagnosed in June, he had brain surgery to remove the tumor there.
Mike Smith Reminds me of his Consolidation Proposal
During the recent controversy in which Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders explored the possibility of consolidating emergency services with the city of Columbus, it never crossed my mind that this matter has been brought to the supervisors boardroom previously.
But former District 3 Supervisor Mike Smith jogged my memory when I ran into him last Thursday at Joe Wayne Langford’s Express Mart Parade at the corner of Gardner Blvd and Highway 50 East. Smith asked me if I remembered that he suggested the supes explore the possibilities of consolidation, at least some services, during his term as supervisor (2004-2008).
“Do you remember that Harry Sanders was completely opposed to the idea of consolidation of services?” asked Smith.
I covered those meetings back then for the Commercial Dispatch as a columnist. After Smith mentioned it, I remembered that he was correct.
Sanders constantly reminds us that Leroy Brooks places people in strategic places throughout the county to be his eyes and ears and report back to him. While this is true, Sanders has been guilty of the same thing. That’s why the upcoming board appointment to the CVB board to replace George Swales is as important as ever. While it’s widespread knowledge that Sanders is touting Leon Ellis for the position. Last I heard, Charles Miller was going to apply for the position but backed out. Why? For my part, Miller would have been an excellent candidate (not that Leon Ellis isn’t. In fact, Ellis would be great for that board. RW). It’s just that we need to stop playing politics on either side of the fence. (And, yes…I realize I might as well be talking to a brick wall. RW)
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0