DEKALB COUNTY, Ala – After being placed on administrative leave in February, Geraldine Assistant Police Chief Jeff Buckles faced a due process hearing, Tuesday.
Buckles posted to Facebook after the State of the Union Address, “Pelosi just ripped up his speech. Road Side bomb on her way home and any other Dumbocrats.” In hours following, the post was shared all over the country. Many residents emailed and called our newsroom.
Geraldine City Hall was packed with residents Tuesday night, only to have the hearing be held in private, per Buckles’ request.
“I feel like social media is an outlet and police are humans too,” said Amanda Ferguson-McCulloch, a supporter of Buckles.
On the advice of his lawyer, Buckles requested the hearing to be held in private. The hearing will be held with legal counsel and a 3rd party that will make a formal recommendation to the city council and mayor.
“He’s not that type of person. I knew it was empty. He was venting, it was not a threat,” said Ferguson-McCulloch.
Buckles deleted the post and attempted to apologize, saying on Facebook, “I want to apologize for venting on FB. I have definitely offended some people with my remarks. It just rips my heart out that our great country is so divided.”
Several people on social media and in Geraldine expressed concern over the apology. Saying the post by a law figure only created more of a divide.
As the council meeting ended, a man approached Buckles.
“In your opinion, did you make a threat or did you reference what could happen?” asked the man.
Buckles responded, “No. I was just venting on Facebook.”
Mayor Chuck Ables says the independent party will draft a report and give it to the council and mayor to vote on. In the end, Buckles could be terminated, further suspended or he can go back to work.
“I’m very serious about following the oath I took to support the constitution,” said Mayor Ables.
While Buckles has been on administrative leave, a few of Geraldine’s part-time police officers have picked up the slack. The town has only a handful of officers.
Mayor Ables says people from 10 different states have called him to voice their concerns about the Facebook post.
WHNT will let you know what happens next.