Facebook ‘Likes’ Aren’t a Form of Protected Speech

From Courthouse News:

“Liking” a Facebook page does not qualify for First Amendment protection, a federal judge ruled, dismissing claims that a Virginia sheriff improperly monitored the virtual support of six employees.
As November 2009 elections loomed. B.J. Roberts, the sheriff of Hampton, Va., allegedly learned that six of his employees were actively supporting one of his opponents in the election, Jim Adams. Several employees had recently expressed their support for Adams by clicking the “like” function on Adams’ Facebook page and by attending a barbeque fundraiser.
Roberts then called a department meeting in which he advised the staff to get on the “long train” which him, rather than ride the “short train” with Adams, according to the six employees’ complaint.
After Roberts won re-election, he fired several employees, including three civilian workers and three uniformed deputy sheriffs who supported Adams.
Bobby Bland, Daniel Carter, David Dixon, Robert McCoy, John Sandhofer and Debra Woodward sued Roberts in the Eastern District of Virginia for violating their First Amendment rights.

Black Marine veteran, 68, shot dead by police after wearable medical alert gadget went off in error

From Boing Boing:

The Trayvon Martin story remains in national headlines this week, but little media attention has been paid to a similarly troubling case: that of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old Marine vet killed in his home last November by police officers in White Plains, NY.

The officers were responding to a false alarm accidentally triggered by Chamberlain’s medical alert pendant while he slept. Instead of helping the man, who had a heart condition, they broke down his front door, tasered him, reportedly called him the “n-word” and mocked him, then shot him dead.

Audio throughout the incident was recorded by his medical alert device.

Democracy Now has an extensive segment on the case, including an interview with the deceased man’s son, Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. The New York Times ran a story on the case a few weeks ago.

The police department has so far refused to release the name of the officer who killed the elderly man