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Columbus Loses Excellent Firefighter Over Facebook Post

Police Officer Lance Luckey, Two Other
Firefighters Suspended
By Ron Williams

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.

Officer Lance Luckey

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.com

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12 comments

  1. MoralActivist

    While not to condone the actions of the alleged perpetrators, they are entitled to express their opinion as documented in the Constitution of the United States of America!

  2. Debra Thrasher

    Your chief and councilmen have too much power. I can’t believe that suspended these people. I wish there was s way to make the chief and councilmen be suspended!

  3. risky h

    I wish the city leaders would worry more about the real problems of the city,LIKE GANGS, KILLINGS,RAPE,BUDGET WOES.CHARGES SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP ON THE MOTHER!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS THE VERY REASON OUR KIDS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE.ALSO TO MANY PEOPLE IN COL. RIDING THE BACKS OF WORKING CLASS FOLKS .REMEMBER WHERE THE TAX BASE COMES FROM MR.MAYOR!!!!LETS GET TO WORK AROUND HERE AND CALL IT WHAT IT IS.THE PEOPLE OF COLUMBUS ARE SICK OF THIS.THESE GUYS PUT THEIR LIVE ON THE LINE FOR ALL OF US ,SO LETS STAND BEHIND ALL OF THEM AND NOT JUST SOME WHOM WE PICK!!!!!WE HAVE A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE IF WE CAN COME TOGATHER AND PUT PEOPLE IN THEIR PLACE.

  4. SpeakEazy

    It seems totally unfair and likely illegal. Mr Williams, likely through intimidation, resigned and should be pleaded to return by Mayor Smith. After all, when the self righteous board exploits their decision he has two choices, be fired or resign to protect his future. Start begging Mayor Smith.
    As to a “LIKE” on Facebook, I wonder how many click the like tab simply to let others know “I read this post.” Been there, done that.

    Think on this. Wonder if the board who signed on to rid the city of one man, is it barely possible they have another in mind.

    On second thought, The Mayor and Council should request the appearance of all concerned and apologize then reinstate all with pay.
    I do thank the wise ones of the Columbus City Council who voted opposing this outrageous move. You think, Outrageous? Yes, Sirs, you have absolutely no grounds for your moce as was noted by one member of your council.

  5. People who have visited my web site know I’ve been making recordings of broadcasts of a local radio station for years, radio shows on which local politicians have phoned in and appeared in person, almost always dealing with political topics.
    The city government of Columbus has done these dedicated employees in this Facebook case a serious injustice and they need to correct their mistake immediately.
    In the three years I have been documenting and recording the broadcasts of the radio station, I have dozens of audio recordings of Columbus assistant police chief Joe Johnson phoning in to the radio station, speaking on political topics and maligning conservative politicians, local, state and national, and promoting the local chapter of a national political action group he belongs to. Asst. Chief Johnson has been doing all this for years during working hours.
    I have these recordings along with dates and times, and I have learned the radio station also records their broadcasts. The city council and the mayor should make this situation right and do it immediately. Either apply the same disciplinary action to Joe Johnson, or reinstate these employees with a full apology.
    As for the press, if these employees are going to be branded, impaled and skewered in the local press, then the on-duty political activities of an assistant police chief, a position where people are supposed to lead by example, should get just as much, if not more, attention and exposure.

  6. bob marley

    Well Columbus has a history of not being FAIR when it comes to some of its citizens and the people that write these articles like RON WILLIAMS/TOM GEIGER only voicing their opinions because ALL the people that were punished are WHITE.Hey TOM do you record any of your good old boys WHITE station so you can COMPLAIN about them too ? I seriously doubt it.YEA,they got just what they deserved and as formoney to help them out ! NOT ONE RED DIME !!!

    • @bob marley; To straighten something out about the difference between the current crop of politicians and bureaucrats in this city, and the dedicated activists of yesteryear, when a past Columbus city mayor threatened to have me arrested for recording a city council meeting, the very next week Dan Spann made a motion before the council that the city allow private citizens to record council meetings. Both Dan Spann and Jackie Ball voted in favor of the motion. It was the Republicans on the council who voted against it, but it passed nonetheless. Now it is a mayor, city council and police chief, all members of the Democratic party who are attempting to undo what Dan Spann and Jackie Ball accomplished for the citizens that day.
      I don’t know of a single radio station in the city of Columbus that is owned, as you claim, by Caucasian owners, or owners of any other racial or ethnic group, where the Columbus city mayor, city councilmen, city police chief, city assistant police chief, city school administrator and county supervisor have been in the studio or called in once, twice or more times a week, making statements about how people of other nationalities and ethnic groups come into their neighborhoods, warning listeners to be careful about people of Arabic or Indian nationalities buying stores, motels and gas stations in their community and and taking money out. I’ve only heard that on the station that airs councilman Kabir Karriem’s show,
      Not one of the items on my rants site can be disproved because they are statements from these politicians and department heads themselves, in their own words. Since they can’t be disproved, all they can do is try to have the site shut down, to try once again to ban me from recording council meetings, threaten me with arrest for showing up at a government meeting. Frankly, I don’t see how these politicians and bureaucrats are any different from the people they say were racist in years past. There is no difference.
      This current crop of politicians are nothing like the men and women they say they revere from the past. There is not a Jackie Ball, Dan Spann, Morris Kinsey or E.J. Stringer amongst them. Every one I have seen in person or heard on the station are self-serving, self-aggrandizing opportunists and not one has the depth of understanding of state law and the city’s own ordinances that Jackie Ball had, or the willingness to listen that Dan Spann had.
      So yes, show me any local station airing a plethora of racist rants by local politicians and I’ll definitely add it to my web site.

    • MoralActivist

      Ooh, Mr. Marley seems to have a serious case of indifference and has the fortitude to submit this is a racial matter! And Mr. Morris, really! You’ve got to bring in another situation that hasn’t anything to do with this. Also a race baiter. You two show the character of ignorance that is equally deplorable of these city officials. Take a look at yourself(well maybe that wouldn’t work). If this is the indication of you IQ’s, you guys need some help. Seriously, ya’ll really got some po home trainin’ (oh it’s hard to write this without laughin’ at ya, sorry!) Get real and come up with some original logic that could make you better citizens of the city.

  7. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    One cannot schmooze and “jam” with Mr. Big and the sleeze down in Pig Alley and not be aware of the criminal activity there. To ignore and not write and report on the facts borders on complicity. Pig Alley is just blocks from MUW, the historic Catholic church and a stone’s throw from R.H. Brown’s WCBI.

    However, that being said, the people suspended did not violate any laws. They merely expressed an opinion that has become “unpopular” in some circles. Unpopular opinions are “especially” guaranteed by the First Amendment. Prosecuting “thought crimes” lives only in George Orwell’s 1984

    Time for a Federal RICO investigation when local officals refuse to act on criminal activity. “Untouchable” criminal bosses continue to walk free in Lowndes county. Why?
    Obama is not the first to promise change and then “renig” on those promises.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3iBsliIJlo

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