The case of Hialeah Firefighters IAFF Local 1102 vice president Eric Johnson is back in the news with word of his discipline on charges related to his social media activities.
Johnson got into hot water over some photos he posted on Facebook showing his minor children posing with alcoholic beverages. Those photos, a post that joked that Johnson communicates with Hialeah’s heavily Hispanic population by adding an “o” to the end of any word, and a few other off-color posts triggered an investigation by both the fire department and the police. The police in turn requested that the Florida Department of Children and Families initiate an investigation into the photos. The agency declined citing insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation.
The Miami Herald reports that Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez sent Johnson a letter informing him of a two-day suspension for “conduct unbecoming,” “insubordination or disgraceful conduct” and “criticizing rules, orders and policies”. The Mayor has previously expressed concerns that Johnson’s posts show a lack of sensitivity toward Hispanics.
Among the post that Johnson is alleged to have made are:
- A photo of a man riding a motor bike with a goat on his back, to which Johnson commented “only in Hialeah, LOL”.
- “I have a system. Just add an ‘o’ to any English word and bam! It works. For example, how ya doin ‘o’ You wanna go to the hospital ‘o’ I just learned that you can’t do that when you say is this your home though. Ha Ha.”
- “Ha Ha Ha… Jew forgot dat I hab da Medicare… Jew must talk me.”
Johnson alleges that the investigations and the discipline are pure retaliation for his criticism of the mayor, and violate his First Amendment Rights. He claims his strongest proof that he is not biased against the Hispanics in Hialeah is irrefutable: he is married to a Cuban.