A state has retaliated against a private investigator for criticizing a police shooting that left two people dead by denying him a license, and now he’s taking his protest to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Institute for Justice explained it is Joshua Gray, of Massachusetts, whose comments about a fatal police action drew the reaction from state officials in the Maine Department of Public Safety, who admitted the rejected his application for a license because of his criticism of the department’s employees.
“When the government retaliates against people because of their speech, it violates the First Amendment. That’s true whether the government is imposing a fine, withholding a parade permit, or denying an occupational license,” explained IJ Senior Attorney Paul Sherman.
The IJ explained, “Gray’s problems with the department began after he criticized the conduct of Maine police in the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Kadhar Bailey and 18-year-old Amber Fagre in February of 2017. Believing that the shooting could have been avoided had it not been for police recklessness, Gray expressed his criticisms on his Facebook page. But when Gray later applied for a license as a professional investigator in Maine, the Department denied Gray’s application on the ground that his online criticism contained factual errors, and therefore he lacked the ‘good moral character’ required for licensure.”