Cherry Hill fires school guard who called Jacob Blake killing a ‘good shoot’
A Cherry Hill school security officer who called the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin a "good shoot" on his Facebook page said he was fired by the district after 19 years because it "upset people" and violated the district social media policy.
Blake, who is Black, was shot seven times in the back by white Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey on Aug. 23 as he walked away from three officers trying to arrest him. The shooting sparked three nights of protests and unrest that culminated with the shootings of three demonstrators by an armed 17-year-old civilian. Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down.
The Kenosha police union has said that officers were dispatched because of a complaint that Blake was attempting to steal the caller’s keys and vehicle. Union attorney Brendan Matthews said officers were aware that Blake had an open warrant for felony sexual assault before they arrived.
Blake pleaded not guilty on Sept. 4 to charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman in May.
Robert Menta, who worked at Cherry Hill High School East, told WPHT radio host Dom Giordano that he had been asked by several friends whose political beliefs he said are liberal about why Blake was shot so many times in the back. Menta said he posted an answer on his personal Facebook page. The post is no longer visible.
"I answered them with the facts that he was being arrested for a felony warrant for the rape of a minor and that he reached for a weapon after he made a furtive move to grab a weapon when he was shot. That furtive move justified the shooting which is known in the circuit as a 'good shoot,'" Menta told Giordano.
Menta said he was called into the office of schools Superintendent Joseph Meloche and told he was being fired because the post violated the district social media policy.
"I was not informed of any reason. I was simply told that it upset people and I was being dismissed. I was given no reason other than that," Menta said. He told Giordano he was not told who complained about the post.
District spokeswoman Barbara Wilson told New Jersey 101.5 that "we cannot comment on personnel matters."
Menta told NJ.com his dismissal was made formal at the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 15. The agenda for the meeting shows two employees identified only by number were recommended for termination "for reasons on file in the office of Human Resources."
According to the district social media policy posted on the their website, the staff is held to a "higher standard than the general public with regards to conduct and ethics" and that their postings cannot "damage the reputation of the school district, employees, pupils, or their families."
If the board and superintendent believes a social media post violates the policy they may request the activity be stopped. "Depending on the severity of the incident, the staff member may be subject to disciplinary action," according to the policy.
Menta told Giordano he is considering legal action against the district for violating his First Amendment rights and said an attorney is reviewing the case.
An online petition was launched by "Help Menta" to get him rehired because he was fired "without substantial reasoning and deserves to be reinstated."
Menta on Friday morning did not immediately return a message from New Jersey 101.5.
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