Luckey Served 30 ‘Calendar Days’ Suspension Instead of Work Days
In what could have been a mistake in paperwork, or just an assumption by other officers and the media, suspended Columbus Police Officer Lance Luckey returned to work Tuesday after serving his 30 ‘calendar’ day suspension for ‘Liking’ a Facebook post originally made by Columbus Firefighter Brad Alexander, who eventually resigned his post over the incident. Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen had recommended a 30-day suspension to the Columbus City Council back in early September. At the same time, Columbus Fire Chief Ken Moore had equally recommended 30-day ‘calendar’ suspensions for firefighters Erik Minga and Damon Estes, who had also ‘Liked’ the controversial post. (Writers note: The post was apparently made by Alexander after the firefighter had helped answer a call involving a two-year old child who had dashed out into a street and been hit by a vehicle. It has been speculated that the post, though Alexander never mentioned specific names, was about that incident. The original post read, “People never cease to amaze me.
Mama yalling oh my baybee my baybee….Hey you stupid ass, where was babyeees mama at while your 2 year old was getting hit by a truck. Mama needs to have her guts cut so there won’t be any more babies. Freeloading ignorant woman.” The city council voted in a 3-3 tie to implement the recommended suspensions (Gene Taylor, Joseph Mickens and Fred Stewart voted to uphold the suspensions. Kabir Karriem, Charlie Box and Bill Gavin voted against the suspensions. RW), so Columbus Mayor Robert Smith had to break the tie. The mayor voted to uphold the recommendation by the two chiefs and Luckey, Minga and Estes had to serve the suspensions.
I remember that when Attorney Jeff Turnage announced the council decision after the executive session that I heard the phrase ‘30 calendar days’ used. It was immediately assumed by many that 30 calendar days are just that for firefighters, but because Columbus police officers work a different type of schedule than firefighters, it was speculated that 30 days would be ‘work days’, and for police officers,that can mean two months away from work. It hasn’t yet been determined if it was that assumption being in error, or an error in the paperwork filed by the city that caused the confusion.
In a 3-0 vote, the Columbus Civil Service Commission board upheld the Luckey suspension. (That wasn’t surprising considering the civil service board members have always backed-up council decisions, especially if Mayor Robert Smith is in favor of the decision. -RW).
At the civil service commission appeal by Luckey, it was reported that Columbus Fire Chief Ken Moore felt that the ‘Liking’ of the controversial post was ‘racial’. Amazing how he could have such a professional opinion. Never knew that Moore was such an expert in the field of when comments are ‘racial’ or not…or was it just his ‘opinion?’ If he deduced it was racial because of the term ‘babies mama’, that term has been used anywhere and everywhere all over this country.
And in hindsight of this entire process, I’d have to give credit to Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen after all is said and done. It’s widely known that Columbus Mayor Robert Smith wanted all three firefighters and Luckey ‘fired’ after initially hearing of this incident. If it had been up to him, they would have been. By recommending the 30-day suspension, McQueen may have saved Luckey’s job! Also by recommending the 30-day suspension and therefore Luckey not being fired, McQueen might have saved the city a ton of money in legal problems that could have come from Luckey being fired.
Chief McQueen deserves praise for this.0