A volunteer firefighter in Maryland filed a federal lawsuit after he says he was wrongfully terminated for a writing a pro-gun comment on Facebook.
Mark Grutzmacher is suing Howard County and its fire chief for violating his first amendment rights.
Grutzmacher was not a paid employee, but he says the position provided “valuable benefits,” including a state tax credit of $3,500 each year and a pension after 25 years, according to Courthouse News Service.
He had been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for 18 years when he was terminated.
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The sarcastic comment Grutzmacher made wasn’t even on his own Facebook page. It was a comment he made on a friend’s post.
"On Sunday, January 20, 2013, Mr. Buker 'posted' a satirical comment concerning assault weapons legislation that was pending in several jurisdictions in the United States on his Facebook page,” the claim states. “The post could only be viewed by Mr. Buker's Facebook 'friends,' including Mr. Grutzmacher, not members of the general public.”
Kevin Buker, a former battalion chief who also lost his job, wrote: “My aide had an outstanding idea ... Let's kill someone with a liberal ... then maybe we can get them outlawed too! Think of the satisfaction of beating a liberal with another liberal ... it's almost poetic. ...”
The Grutzmacher commented: "But ... was it an '[assault] liberal'? Gotta pick a fat one, those are the 'high capacity' ones. Oh pick a black one, those are more 'scary.' Sorry had to perfect on a cool idea!'"
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Grutzmacher says he was fired by the county on Mar. 6.
His claim seeks reinstatement, with benefits, an injunction, damages for mental anguish and distress, and attorney's fees and costs.
Buker was also fired by the county and is seeking reinstatement. He is not a party to Grutzmacher’s lawsuit.