Federal Judge Tosses Out Fired Officer’s Lawsuit Against City Officials

(West Palm Beach, FL) – A judge has dismissed all three counts of a fired city police officer’s  lawsuit against several City of West Palm Beach officials, calling portions of his lawsuit improper and other portions confusing and irrelevant.

Fired city police officer turned Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy William McCray has been a regular feature at city commission meetings since he was let go by the City. McCray, who often requests to speak about various topics on any particular agenda, almost always uses public comment opportunities to lob pointed criticisms at city officials.

Since being let go by the City, McCray has filed numerous lawsuits against the City. This latest lawsuit, however, wasn’t filed against the City. It was filed personally against several current and former city officials including former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, the estate of the late Commissioner Bill Moss, current Mayor Jeri Muoio, City Commissioner Keith James, City Administrator Ed Mitchell and City Attorney Claudia McKenna.

McCray’s lawsuit contained three separate allegations. All three were dismissed by the court.

McCray accused the individuals of violating his rights when he was prevented from bringing a loaded firearm into the commission chambers while out of uniform and not serving on duty as a sheriff’s deputy. The Federal court dismissed this claim, calling it “improper.”

Second, McCray claimed his First Amendment right to free speech was violated when his microphone was allegedly turned off during a commission meeting. The court dismissed this allegation as well, saying McCray “failed to make any specific allegations” against any but one of the individuals, and the one specific allegation he did make was rejected by the court.

Finally, McCray, who is African-American, claimed that he was treated differently than white officers who he claimed were allowed to have loaded firearms at commission meetings, while he was not. The Federal court dismissed this final count as well, finding McCray failed “to make a single allegation of discrimination” based on race.

The ruling was issued by United States District Judge Donald Middlebrooks, United States District Court Southern District of Florida on March 5th, 2013.