I am a big believer in freedom of expression. In America it’s often referred to as a First Amendment right, but even outside of America, people should obviously be allowed to express themselves too. There was a big case involving freedom of expression and an officer in Victoria (BC) who was speaking out against the failed drug war as a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). I’m happy to say that a human rights tribunal ruled in favor of the officer (and in favor of free expression!). Below is more information, via a message that I received from LEAP:
We have great news! Last week, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition shared victory in a major free speech case. A human rights tribunal ruled that the Victoria (BC) Police Department discriminated against Officer David Bratzer when it unlawfully restricted his off-duty advocacy for LEAP. The tribunal determined that Officer Bratzer has the right to express his beliefs about the failed War on Drugs.
To all those who stood with David by supporting our “Law Enforcement Speaking Out” fundraising campaign – thank you! This case sets an important precedent for current and future generations of police officers. It will embolden professionals in the justice system to speak up about bad policy. But as drug policy reformers, our fight is far from over. We have a lot on the line this year, with marijuana reform hanging in the balance in several key states.
Active duty officers speaking for legalization, regulation, and control are a powerful resource. We must continue to stand up for their right to speak. If officers are prevented from voicing their political beliefs while off-duty, their ability to work toward improving their communities, and the institution of policing itself, is constrained. We need your help to get our law enforcement experts in front of audience in key states to ensure victory this year. No one can take down the War on Drugs like LEAP speakers can… say you’re with us by donating today.
Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
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