Iowan fired for ‘Millions of Dead Cops’ Facebook post, while police officer is fired for the N-word

The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld an $11 million jury award in a libel case involving an Iowan who “doggedly and relentlessly” used Facebook and other social media tools to denigrate a former employer. (Creative Commons photo via Pxhere)

An Iowa man fired from his job after posting a “Millions of Dead Cops” logo to his Facebook page is entitled to unemployment benefits, while an Iowa police officer who used the N-word is not, according to two separate judges’ rulings.

In May 2020, Logan Creach was hired by Linder Tire Service as a part-time tire technician. At the time, he had a Facebook account where he identified himself as an employee of Linder, but mistakenly believed only his Facebook friends could view his page.

Last Aug. 23, a white Kenosha, Wis., police officer shot and seriously injured a Black man who was walking away from the officer and toward a parked vehicle where his children were sitting. The shooting made national news and sparked protests in and around Kenosha.

At the time of the shooting, Creach was home on medical leave and posted to his Facebook page a logo used by the band MDC on the rear cover of its album “Millions of Dead Cops.” The logo shows a police officer pointing a gun at the observer, with half of his head cloaked in a white hood.

The widely circulated MDC logo that an Iowa man posted to his Facebook page shortly before he was fired appears on the back cover of one of the band’s CDs, entitled “Millions of Dead Cops,” and on T-shirts.

Hours later, Creach added to his page another post that read, “To all cops. Blue lives don’t exist. Being a cop is a choice, and being black isn’t. Someday, all you f—ing pigs will get what what (sic) you f—ing deserve.”

Almost immediately, Linder Tire Service received calls from people complaining about the posts. On Aug. 25, company officials called Creach at home and terminated him without asking any questions about the matter. Creach then filed for unemployment insurance benefits, which the company challenged.

Administrative Law Judge Beth Scheetz ruled recently that Creach is entitled to the benefits. She noted that Linder Tire Service did not connect Creach’s online activity to his workplace duties other than to point out that he had listed his employer on his Facebook page.

Creach’s conduct had “no financial impact on the company,” and while his posts triggered complaints, the company was unable to show any harm to its interests, Scheetz found. Also, Scheetz noted, the company handbook did not make any reference to off-duty conduct, and there was no evidence to suggest Creach intended to harm the company.

Among the other Iowans whose requests for unemployment benefits were recently decided is Thomas Allen, who worked as a police officer for the City of Marion since 2015 until his dismissal last November.

State records indicate the city gave Allen the choice to either resign or be fired after alleging that during a training course, Allen had used the term “n—– rigging” as it related to adjustments he made to his holster.

Allen allegedly admitted using the term and apologized for his conduct, but was terminated due to the city’s zero-tolerance policy for such language.

Administrative Law Judge Jennifer L. Beckman ruled that Allen was not entitled to unemployment benefits since Allen “knew or should have known his conduct was contrary to the best interests of the employer. (His) use of a known racial epithet amounted to misconduct, even as a first offense.”

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.