North Miami Beach: Fired cop had misused computer before blog post
(MIAMI HERALD) A North Miami Beach officer fired for sending a threatening blog post while on-duty had previous reprimands for disobeying department rules.
The North Miami Beach officer who was fired for sending an ethnically charged post to a local blog site inviting criminals to visit the homes of activists had been previously reprimanded for using a police computer system for personal use.
Hobbs was fired Tuesday after an internal investigation revealed he had used his city-issued laptop to fire off a blog post to a site run by a local blogger.
It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten into trouble with his supervisors.
According to a dismissal letter to William Hobbs from City Manger Lyndon Bonner, Hobbs received a written reprimand and was placed on 40-hour suspension in January for failing to follow his supervisor’s order to end the pursuit of a suspect.
One month later, he received a written warning for using the police D. A.V. I. D. System, the official database provided by the Department of Highway and Motor Vehicle to law enforcement, for his personal use.
Hobbs, a Fort-Lauderdale resident, who was going to lose his job as part of the city’s budget cuts to the police department, was fired with cause for conduct unbecoming of an officer.
An internal affairs investigation report found Hobbs violated the department’s computer rules when he composed the post that listed the addresses of two outspoken city activists, Mubarak Kazan and Bert Kehren, using his department issued laptop while on-duty.
In the post to gadfly Stephanie Kinezle’s blog, Hobbs, 50, invited criminals to “have fun” when they visit the homes Kazan and Kehren.
Kienzle never published the post onto her site; instead she forwarded it to the police to investigate.
The post called Kazan, who is Muslim, “Al-Jazzerri” and described Kehren, who is of German heritage, as a “Nazi”.
According to the report, Hobbs admitted he wrote the post out of frustration “and was merely exercising his right to free speech and freedom of the press.”
The sources of Hobbs frustration, according to the report were a series of emails from Kazan and Kehren that were sent to the city’s administration and circulated to several police officers. Both men supported the city’s plan to reduce the police force. Hobbs told investigators he found the emails to be offensive and attacked his “livelihood as a police officer.”
Hobbs told investigator his use of the terms “Al-Jazeeri: and “Nazi” were adjectives.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office declined to pursue a criminal case. Assistant State Attorney John Perikles said while offensive, Hobb’s actions did not constitute a crime.
North Miami Beach police found through the investigation Hobbs inappropriately used his assigned laptop and violated the city’s civil service rules which prohibits employees from being offensive to each other and the public.