January 5, 2015 – Professor Eugene Volokh was quoted in a Wall Street Journal
article on free speech rights for police officers.
The speech rights of public employees can often be a legal gray area. The situation involving the back-turning cops is no exception, say legal experts.
“The answer is nobody knows,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told Law Blog.
Mr. Volokh said he thinks the police officers were speaking as citizens — not as part of their official duties — about matters of public concern. Courts have said government employees have the right to speak freely as private citizens on matters of public concern, with some exceptions.
Courts also consider the potential of speech to disrupt government functions. Mr. Volokh said the value of the speech would have to be weighed against its disruptive potential.
“It’s potentially disruptive because it undermines the authority of management,” he said
Read the article.