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article imageMiami firefighter investigated for Trayvon Facebook rant

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By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 16, 2012 in Internet
Miami - Miami Dade Fire Rescue began an investigation after a Facebook posting against Trayvon Martin and "urban youth" on a firefighter's personal account became public.
The posting was made last Wednesday, shortly after prosecutor Angela Corey announced George Zimmerman would face a charge of second-degree murder in the February shooting death of the 17-year-old Martin.
Someone with access to the Facebook page of Capt. Brian Beckmann took a screen shot of the post and sent it to theGrio.com, a website that deals with African-American issues. TheGrio.com published the firefighter's comments.
As quoted by the Miami Herald, Beckmann wrote, Listening to Prosecutor Corey blow herself and her staff for five minutes before pre-passing judgment on George Zimmerman. The state seeks reelection again, truth aside. I and my coworkers would rewrite the book on whether our urban youths are victims of racial profiling or products of their failed, sh*tbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents, but like Mrs. Corey, we only speak the truth.
They're just misunderstood little church going angels and the ghetto hoodie look doesn't have anything to do with why people wonder they're about to be jacked by a thug.
Athough Beckmann refused to talk to the media, saying the matter is under investigation, Channel 4 News reported that he told a reporter with theGrio.com, I am a private citizen and have the same rights to freely express an opinion on any subject that anyone does. I chose not to embellish or alter the facts as your employers chose to do so.
Channel 4 also reported several firefighters are angry with Beckmann for having included them as viewing young people like Martin the same way he does.
Lee Rainie, of the Pew Research Center, was quoted in the Miami Herald saying incidents like this are "one of the greatest challenges of the digital age."
He added that any statement made in private can ultimately become public and the law is not clear about the boundary between a person's right to free speech and an organization such as Miami Date Fire Rescue's right to set rules of conduct for its members.
The statement also raises the issue of political correctness. There is no evidence that Martin was a "thug" or that his parents are "sh*tbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents." Similarly, there is no evidence that Zimmerman is a racist who targeted and killed Martin simply because he was black. Had Beckmann made scurrilous accusations against Zimmerman, would he be investigated for that?
Beckmann has been a member of Miami Dade Fire Rescue since 1997.
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