Judicial Watch recordsdata civil rights lawsuit for instructor fired after criticizing violent left-wing riots
Judicial Watch has filed a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of an Illinois teacher who was dismissed after criticizing the riot, looting and other violence that erupted in Chicago following the death of George Floyd last May.
Jeanne Hedgepeth from Palatine, 35 miles northwest of Willis Tower, published the posts on her personal Facebook account during the summer break after the end of the school year, the conservative right-wing group said in a statement. She did not exchange jobs with current students or colleagues, and her employer was not mentioned on the profile.
Floyd was killed on May 25 in a videotaped incident that resulted in a murder conviction against one of the four Minneapolis police officers involved. Three more are still waiting for their trial.
A post Hedgepeth posted on Facebook while on vacation in Florida during the worst riots in Chicago the weekend after the assassination of George Floyd in Minnesota.
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In the days that followed, protests and riots broke out across the country. That weekend in Chicago, when extensive looting took place, 82 people were shot dead, 19 fatal. The Chicago Sun-Times described Sunday, May 31, as the heaviest day the Windy City had seen in 60 years.
“I don’t want to go home tomorrow,” wrote Hedgepeth on Facebook that day while on vacation in Florida. “Now that the civil war has started, I want to move.”
Chicago police officers and protesters clash in a protest against the death of George Floyd in Chicago on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Floyd died after being arrested and detained by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day in Minnesota. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)
“Follow your gut feeling!” Someone replied, to which Hedgepeth replied, “I need a gun and training.”
She also shared a meme about riot control with a water cannon hooked up to a septic tank and wrote a long post on June 1 about race, crime, and the media:
“For me it is about facts, the search for truth and love. I will speak on any topic I choose because I live in a free country. I don’t find the term ‘white privilege’ just as racist as the ‘N’ word shoes, so don’t make any assumptions about me and my so-called privilege. Do you think America is racist? Then you have been duped by the white liberal establishment and racists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who duped racism and some more than others, but few make efforts like us to mitigate or eradicate it. I’ve lived and seen. The people who tell me about the black experience in America are actually some of the smartest people in America. And it is that they are black. I highly recommend studying Thomas Sowell, who is now retired and over 80 years old. A treasure. A seeker of truth. [D]oes REAL research and analysis. Candice Owens is one of America’s brightest and bravest women, and Larry Elders speaks the truth with humor and FACTS, not feelings. You are the one I listen to when it comes to facts about the black experience of America. Don’t you think there’s a deeper problem than racism when 50% of murders in America are committed by 13% of the population? Do you think there could be a subtle genocide of black babies when most of the planned parenting is in poor neighborhoods and 30% of abortions are black babies? [B]Missing women make up only 7% of the US population. The greatest power you have is what you believe about yourself. [W]hat have democrats, mainstream media and intellectuals in ivory towers been telling the black community to believe in themselves for forty years? Wake up and stop believing them and things will change. “
Two weeks later, a Facebook group called D211 Community for Justice, a reference to District 211 where Hedgepeth worked, urged residents to email the school board members condemning them. Ultimately, the board voted 5-2 to let her go.
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“This is a free country – there is something called the First Amendment,” said Christine Svenson, attorney who is assisting Judicial Watch on the case. “A person has the right to speak about matters of public interest in their personal Facebook post, and that has absolutely nothing to do with their job.”
She told Fox News Tuesday that cases like this should give Americans cause to fear the state of abandonment culture and censorship.
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“This woman was nowhere near her job, the school year was over and she’s being fired for speaking out about the world,” said Svenson. “People should really be scared and people should be ready to stand up because if they don’t want to do that again we will be on the way there, I mean, we will be North Korea, we will be China, we will be very fast Being Venezuela … we’re halfway there. “
And it also showered prominent black conservatives like radio host Larry Elder, activists Candice Owes, and scholar Thomas Sowell, whom she described as a “treasure” and a “seeker of truth”.
The lawsuit named 211 Township High School District, board members, and officials who were directly involved in the firing.
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“The school district took an educational moment to respect the diversity of viewpoints and turned it into a clear violation of civil rights,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Jeanne Hedgepeth had every right to be held accountable on her personal Facebook page outside of school freely and openly on matters of undeniable public interest.”