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Police Speech

In a case brought by a detective who was disciplined for speaking to a reporter, a federal court in Rhode Island ruled the Johnston Police Department media policy is an “impermissible prior restraint on speech.” The detective could not have reasonably expected that “comments on a matter of public concern, spoken as a private citizen,” could be considered conduct unbecoming an officer, the court ruled.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a case brought by a detective who was disciplined for speaking to a reporter, a federal court in Rhode Island ruled the Johnston Police Department's media policy is an “impermissible prior restraint on speech.” The detective could not have reasonably expected that “comments on a matter of public concern, spoken as a private citizen,” could be considered conduct unbecoming an officer, the court ruled.  

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