NAACP Leader Sues Fire Police Civil Service Board Over Facebook Post

A local NAACP leader in Louisiana has filed suit against the Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board claiming that one of its member shared a politically oriented video on Facebook in violation of state law.

Marja Broussard filed the lawsuit last week seeking a court order requiring the board to investigate her allegations that civil service board Vice Chairman Guy LeBreton engaged in prohibited “political speech”.

LeBreton reportedly shared a video depicting a black man and white woman standing on a stalled escalator frantically calling for help, apparently because they did not know what else to do. The video was captioned “Two Democrats on an escalator” and Lebreton added the comment: “How can any fine Republican not share this? Great stuff.” The video was shared last August and taken down shortly thereafter.

Broussard claims that Louisiana state law limits political activities and political speech of public employees. LeBreton is also a police lieutenant. Both Louisiana R.S. 33:2504, and R.S. 33:2564 have the identical provision that is referenced in Broussard’s complaint:

(4)  No employee in the classified service shall (a) be a member of any national, state, or local committee of a political party, (b) be an officer or member of a committee of any factional, political club or organization, (c) be a candidate for nomination or election to public office, (d) make any political speech or public political statement in behalf of any candidate seeking to be elected to public office, or (e) take any part in the management or affairs of any political party or in the political campaign of any candidate for public office, except to privately express his opinion and to cast his vote.

The complaint states that LeBreton’s comment “is stereotypical of the proverbial Southern bigot,” and folks like him “have no place as public figures in society, particularly when it concerns the overall public.”

More on the story.

Here is a document explaining Louisiana’s political activities laws for public employees: Political Activity Information

Here is a link to a Facebook post by the Lafayette NAACP Facebook page.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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