A Tennessee park ranger says he was fired for dancing on the job after a woman filmed him and complained that his moves were “rated R.”
Chattanooga park ranger Deryl Nelson, 51, worked for the city for more than seven years.
"It's all about enjoying what you do and that's the way I feel," Deryl Nelson told WRCB-TV. "Clean fun. It's nothing like doing any bumping and grinding.”
"It makes people happy to see some government official out dancing, enjoying life," park-goer Jordan Otis said.
"I thought it was pretty funny actually. I don't think he should have gotten fired for it,” resident Lonnie Stinnett told NewsChannel 9.
At least one person was not amused. Melissa Parsons pulled over when she saw Nelson dancing and filmed him on her cell phone. She posted it online and officials fired Nelson for two code violations: "conduct unbecoming of an employee" and "inefficiency or negligence in performance of duties."
"As a parent and seeing all the parents that were covering their kids eyes and turning their heads away, it wasn't something you would expect to see in Coolidge Park or anywhere from a grown man, especially a man in uniform," Parsons said.
"He went all the way to the ground, he came back up from the ground, he was grabbing areas that you would see on a rated R movie," she added.
Other area residents told NewsChannel 9 that Nelson should not have lost his job.
"I don't think he did anything that would make me cover my kid's eyes," said Stinnett. "He was just dancing. You see worse than that in television."
"Sad," Deeanna Demian said. "I mean somebody's trying to have fun and entertain people and they get fired for doing that. I don't understand."
"I think things may have gone a little bit too far,” Katherine Milling said. “I think each incident has to be evaluated in it's own accord. You have to look into the person's background, their job performance.”
"Just let me be myself,” Nelson said. “Let me be the park ranger. I was labeled 'the dancing park ranger' so let me be the dancing park ranger.”
Nelson had never been cited before for dancing on the job. He was written up in 2010 for hitting a car and suspended for five days in 2013 for making “inappropriate remarks” to a coworker.