Ex-Nashville Cop Sues Metro After Being Fired

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An ex-Metro Police Officer has sued Metro government after he was fired for a controversial Facebook post in 2016. The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

According to the lawsuit, in the aftermath of the 2016 police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Metro Police Officer Anthony Venable commented on a post he found on his Facebook feed. 

The lawsuit also says another officer who was punished for a similar Facebook post received only a 10-day suspension while Venable was fired.

Metro Police have said they stand by their decision to terminate him.

Even though it’s been more than a year since the original Facebook comment, it was only on Tuesday that Venable's termination became final.

An ex-Metro Police Officer has sued Metro government after he was fired for a controversial Facebook post in 2016. The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

According to the lawsuit, in the aftermath of the 2016 police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota, Metro Police Officer Anthony Venable commented on a post he found on his Facebook feed. 

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The post, which was critical of police, spawned a series of comments from others, including multiple responses from Venable, including, “Yeah. I would have done 5,” implying Venable would have shot Castile five times instead of four.

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Metro Police saw the comment and fired Venable.

Venable’s attorney, David Raybin, said what got Venable fired wasn't that Facebook comment alone. He says it happened only after someone else grouped a screenshot of Venable's comment and placed it alongside a picture of Venable and the Police Chief, and that post went viral.

Raybin says because Venable himself never mentioned he worked for Metro Police on his Facebook profile, he should have been allowed to post that comment -- under the first amendment.

“Officers do not lose their First Amendment protection simply by donning a uniform,” Raybin said.

Raybin said the only reason Venable was even identified as a police officer online in the first place, was because of an additional picture, taken and posted by Metro themselves, after Venable won the Officer of the Year Award.

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“Metro itself listed him as a police officer on their own website,” Raybin said.

He appealed the firing, and it was originally overturned by an Administrative Law Judge, but on Tuesday, Metro's Civil Service Commission overruled that decision, hours before Venable filed the lawsuit.

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