An Arkansas woman hoping to become a Little Rock police officer has been terminated after officials were alerted to offensive rap lyrics she posted to her Facebook page when she was just 16 years old.
According to local news station WAVY, police recruit Katina Jones was just two weeks shy of graduating when she was fired over Lil Wayne lyrics officials say contained a racial slur. Her lawyer, Robert Newcomb, explained that Jones, 25, shared the lyrics while she was still in high school and was reported by fellow recruit Brandon Gurley.
Gurley, who is also African-American, had already been booted for violating multiple department policies, including lying and inappropriate social media posts, according to the news station. In fact, he admitted that he had a friend break into Jones’ private Facebook account and later “narked” on her to police.
“They said ‘well you didn’t clear everything out and you had that offensive word’ ” Newcomb said of the day his client was called in by officials and subsequently fired.
“Do we judge the chief and others by the type of music they listen to?” he added. “What they need to learn from the absurd position taken by the Little Rock Police Department is that they need to just do away with it [Facebook profile] and give up that [First Amendment] right.”
Jones is the third recruit in her class to be fired, along with Gurley and fellow recruit Brandon Schiefelbein. Schiefelbein was fired over a 2013 Facebook post that read “Go night night n*gga. Go night night,” alongside a picture of a friend, according to local station KARK.
Newcomb, who’s representing both Jones and Schiefelbein, argued that the department may have broken the law, as the reason for Jones’ firing was essentially based on stolen information.
“She made her account private and Mr. Gurley admitted he had a friend that knew how to break into it,” the lawyer explained. “That’s how he got it and sent it to the police department.”
Newcomb has since asked the city board and manager to investigate whether his two clients should be reinstated. If they fail to act, Newcomb has plans to sue.
“The city justifiably wants more African-Americans, and here was an African-American female that they invested thousands and thousands of dollars in that was doing well,” he said.