Miami-Dade County Investigation of Captain’s Facebook Post Treads Fine Line Of Violating Privacy

There is an interesting story over at EMS World about Miami-Dade County investigating a Facebook posting made by one of their captains regarding the Treyvon Martin shooting. The article is originally from The Miami Herald and reads in part with my own added emphasis:

Capt. Brian Beckmann’s post, published for the public Friday by the website, lambasts the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case and suggests “urban youth” are the products of “failed, sh*tbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents.”

Someone with access to Beckmann’s Facebook page sent a screen shot of his posting to the website which is geared toward African-American issues.
Miami-Dade firefighter under investigation for Trayvon Martin Facebook rant, The Miami Herald 4/15/12

Facebook: Who needs enemies with friends like these?The article states the post was published for the public Friday by the website, indicating that Captain Beckmann’s post was NOT a public posting. This is not the same as the old “could you say it in a restaurant” sniff test that Happy is fond of, this is more of a “could you say it in your living room with friends” type of situation.

The article further states that someone with access to Beckmann’s Facebook page sent a screen shot of his posting to the website, indicating that no one from the website was able to see the posting themselves. In all likelihood, his privacy settings were set to share only with his “Friends“.

I am interested to learn the findings of this investigation. It may very well be that they are looking to see when he posted it, because if he was on duty when he did so he may have very well violated a policy. If the investigation is more about the content than the time, well then that is treading a very fine line in violating his privacy, especially since it was not something he made public himself.

Although there’s no proof, it is yet another great reason why you should NOT accept requests from Facebook Profiles of agencies or organizations. Agencies and organizations should have a Facebook Page.


  1. mike mcd says

    unfortunately, the snippets of quotes do not provide a context in which the statements were made. first amendment may apply but without the full text, it is impossible to make a judgement.