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U.S. Judge Tosses Out Lawsuit By Former WPB Police Officer – AGAIN!

June 11, 2013

(West Palm Beach, FL) – For the second time, a federal judge has dismissed the latest lawsuit filed against City of West Palm Beach lawmakers and officials by former West Palm Beach police officer William McCray.

McCray, who was disciplined over a dozen times while working as a city police officer and is now working as a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was fired by the city over 10 years ago. Since then, he has spent years filing numerous lawsuits against the city.

This latest lawsuit accused city officials of violating McCray’s First Amendment rights when his microphone was shut off during a public comment portion of a City Commission meeting.

McCray attends almost all City Commission meetings, during which he frequently uses his public comment opportunity to accuse members of the City Commission of being racists.

McCray has been escorted out of the Commission Chambers more than once by police officers after Commissions voted to have him removed. He has claimed that his comments, regardless of how offensive they may be viewed, are protected speech.

Federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks dismissed McCray’s accusation that his right to free speech had been violated, saying that “contrary to [McCray's] assertion, a commission meeting, like the one here, is not a traditional public forum for First Amendment purposes; rather it constitutes a limited public forum.” Judge Middlebrooks wrote McCray provided “absolutely no legal support” for his position.

This was the second time McCray made the accusations. His first legal claim was dismissed in March. He then refiled the accusations again eleven days later.  This time, the Court has dismissed his claims “with prejudice,” a legal term that means he is no longer allowed to refile the claims.

West Palm Beach Commissioner Keith James commented on the dismissal during last night’s Commission meeting.

“I am happy to report that this baseless lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice…It’s interesting how people talk about wasting money. There was money that needed to be paid to lawyers by the city on behalf of the Mayor and others who were individually named, and to me that was a tremendous waste of funds because of a silly, stupid lawsuit.”

The Court also dismissed with prejudice McCray’s allegation that he was being discriminated against when he was not permitted to bring a loaded gun into the Commission Chambers.

Order on Motions to Dismiss Amended Complaint (00212219)

 
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