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State trooper’s antics get him fired; Iowa Court of Appeals upholds decision


This news story was published on November 9, 2011.
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DES MOINES – According to an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling today, an Iowa State Trooper from the Fort Dodge area was fired in 2009 for good cause.

The ruling says that Trooper Rodney Hicok “lost his job after circulating inappropriate jokes in violation of Department of Public Safety rules.”

The ruling outlines Hicok’s on-the-job shenanigans that ultimately got him fired.

The ruling states that Hicok got in hot water starting in January 2009 when he received an email entitled “FW: The new fashion statement for mugshots!” The email featured fifteen mugshots of suspects wearing various versions of tee-shirts in support of President Barack Obama. Twelve of the fifteen individuals appeared to be African-American.

The forwarded email read:

Chicago Police Dept. mugshots.
Anyone out there have any mugshots of people wearing any President Bush or John McCain shirts? Didn‟t think so!!

The ruling states that “Sergeant Hicok, using his state-issued laptop computer, sent the email on to about thirteen additional recipients both inside and outside of state government,” the ruling states. ”

Hicok added his own sentiments to the email:

“I’ve seen some ‘unique individuals’ aka SH**HEADS wearing these type shirts myself ….. He has quite a fan base. Nice to know that the lowlifes are getting involved in politics now.”

Hicok’s email made it to the desk of a Des Moines Register reporter, who then wrote a story about it.

An investigation into Hicok was then launched by the DPS Professional Standards Bureau, the ruling says.

Hicok, who officials said had an “excellent” record, later apologized.

Not long after, Hicok got in more trouble with his computer.

The ruling says that “On April 16, 2009, during work time and using DPS equipment, Sergeant Hicok printed off a racially derogatory joke he received by email. He left the joke on the desk of his post’s secretary, Sue Walsh. The joke read as follows:

In South Los Angeles, a 4 plex was destroyed by a fire.
A Nigerian family of six con artists lived on the first floor, and all six died in the fire.
An Islamic group of seven welfare cheats, all illegally in the country from Kenya, lived on the second floor, and they too, all perished in the fire.
6 LA, Hispanic, Gang Banger, ex-cons, lived on the 3rd floor and they too, died.
A lone, white couple lived on the top floor. The couple survived the fire.
Jesse Jackson, John Burris and Al Sharpton were furious. They flew into LA, met with the fire chief, on camera. They loudly demanded to know why the Blacks, Black Muslims and Hispanics all died in the fire and only the white couple lived…?
The fire chief said, “They were at work.”

The joke offended Walsh and she reported it to the post’s supervisor, Lieutenant Kelly Hindman, the day after she received the printout from Hicok.”

But Hicok wasn’t finished.

According to the ruling, “On April 21, 2009, Hicok gathered co-workers and subordinates around his state-issued laptop computer to watch a video comedy sketch by Hispanic comedian Carlos Mencia entitled “Wetback English.” The ALJ (administrative law judge) found: “The gist of the video was that illegal Hispanic immigrants were taking all of the jobs in the United States and that Caucasian people had to learn to speak broken, wetback‟ English so that they too could find employment.” Among the many troopers gathered to view the video was David Saldivar, who is Hispanic. Saldivar and Hicok were friends. Before showing the video, Hicok turned to Saldivar and said, ‘No offense intended.'”

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