Michael Hamill, a Florida cop, is under investigation for comments he made on Facebook in 2011 and 2013. The case is unusual because Hamill is one of three Gainesville cops dubbed “hunkapotumuses” after their selfie during Hurricane Irma cleanup efforts went viral.
One posting read: “Who knew that reading jewish jokes before I go to bed would not only make me feel better about myself but also help me to sleep better as well,” reads one post from April 2013, according to a screenshot sent to the Gainseville Sun. “Here is one for everybody, ‘What’s the difference between boy scouts and Jews?’ anybody know? well it is because ‘Boy Scouts come back from their camps.” (sic).
In another 2011 posting, Hamill wrote, “So I find it funny that people will talk about how our government needs to do something about our economy and in reality it’s YOU who needs to stop taking advantage of our system and get a life and do something with your life,” Hamill wrote. “Gotta love reality when it hits you in the face. Stupid people annoy me. Put them in an oven and deal with them the Hitler way. Haha.” (sic).
Hamill joined the Gainesville Police Department in April of 2016. It is unclear whether he will be disciplined for these earlier comments. There is no word on whether Hamill would still appear in a calendar, the department is planning, to benefit victims of Hurricane Irma.
OUR FREE OPINION
“The most important thing to remember is that beautiful speech doesn’t need protection. It’s ugly speech that needs protection,” said Bezos. “Somebody is going to write something very ugly, and certain people will say they need to be punished for that ugly speech. But if you step back and think about what a great society we have, a big part of it is the fact that we have these cultural norms that allow people to say really ugly things. We don’t have to like it….”
Lutz concluded her piece by saying, “Amen.” (She was not writing about the above subject matter). We agree with Bezos. In this case, Hamill’s postings are ugly and distasteful, but he has a First Amendment right to write them. Of course, the citizens also have the right to react through legal discourse. Perhaps, Hamill has revealed a dark side of his character that may come into play during his police work. Meanwhile, he should not be disciplined for the legal speech he caused to be posted years ago.