In Oelwein, Iowa, 10-year Police Department reserve officer Jay Perkins “mooned” a Hillary Clinton sign with his bare buttocks as his friend took a picture. Perkins was off duty in plain clothes, yet in the picture he is also using a gun to point at the sign. It’s not registered under the police department, so the question arises: is this free speech, or misconduct?
According to American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa legal expert Rita Bettis, “the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a police officer can be subject to discipline for political speech or behavior if it’s done in an official capacity. So here, the factors like whether the officer was on duty or in uniform may play an important part of the analysis.”
As of now, Perkins is untouched by legal consequences and is still listed as an officer on the website. That may still change. In a statement by Oelwien Police Chief Jeremy Logan, disciplinary action may still follow regarding the act:
“While we support the right of freedom of speech and expression, we encourage our staff to do so with professionalism. Jay Perkins has been a dedicated and sound volunteer for our community and this action does not reflect what we have seen from him in prior years. We take matters such as this seriously as we understand the impact that this can have on the trust that is placed upon us by the public.”
The photo is quite hilarious, yet a few residents of the small city gave mixed feelings about the appropriateness of the photo. “I don’t know, everyone has a right to an opinion,” resident Chris Baker told a journalist with a Des Moines news TV station.
Below is the tweeted photo of Perkins committing the off-duty act:
— Cody Kuhens (@Cody_Kuhens) October 14, 2016
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