Whistleblower fired for revealing cops threatened Obama while protecting him

By David Edwards
Thursday, February 21, 2013 14:20 EDT
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President Barack Obama in Richmond
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A Richmond police officer who reported fellow cops for allegedly threatening President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama has been fired from his job on the force.

WTVR on Wednesday confirmed that the officer, who did not wish to be named, had been called to police headquarters where he was terminated on Tuesday.

The officer blew the whistle on a 20-year department veteran and other members of the Richmond force after they made inappropriate comments while providing protection to the president and first lady.

“There was an officer providing exterior security to the president on that day on the phone with the supervisor,” the whistleblower explained to WTVR last May. “The supervisor said to that particular officer, ‘you’re down there right? So, you can take a couple of shots, you might have to kill yourself, but you can take a couple of shots.’”

He said that the supervisor made those comments to a sharpshooter on the day of the president’s visit to Richmond.

And “another officer in the background started talking and he said, ‘yeah, somebody should plant a bomb underneath the stage while they’re on there and blow it up,’” the source said.

Inappropriate remarks were also made about Michelle Obama.

“Nobody wants to see her anyway — unless she gets undressed or get [sic] naked,” an officer allegedly said.

On Wednesday, the whistleblower told WTVR that he had been fired for violating department policy by doing an interview with the station.

Virginia employment attorney Thomas Robert pointed out that the officer should have been protected under the First Amendment because he was “speaking about a matter of public concern as a citizen.”

“It concerns me and it should concern others, if he was retaliated based upon his right to express his concern on this public matter as well as his opinion,” Roberts said. “There’s no question that this will have a chilling effect upon other members of the police force who will be afraid if they speak out about a matter of public concern. They too may lose their job.”

Although a Secret Service investigation last year concluded that the officers had not violated the law with their comments about the president and first lady, two officers were fired and now want their jobs back.

“Unfortunately, the termination of the self-proclaimed ‘whistleblower’ does nothing to remedy the fact that his false allegations resulted in the termination of two officers,” James Towey, an attorney for the officers told WTVR in a statement. “Their careers were ended and they have gone through eight months of hell.”

Watch this video from WTVR, broadcast Feb. 20, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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