A man fired from the Anniston police department over his involvement in a secessionist group says the city “smeared” his reputation in the process of terminating his job, giving into public pressure from a “mob.”
Josh Doggrell, in an opinion piece posted by The Anniston Star, says his June firing over his membership in the League of the South came even though city officials knew he had been a member for two years when he was hired as a policeman.
Doggrell filed a complaint last month in Calhoun County Circuit Court Friday over his firing.
The League of the South is a group dedicated to “Southern independence” and the preservation of “Southern heritage,” according to its own website. City officials also cited Doggrell’s giving a speech at a league conference where he identified himself as a police officer as one of the factors in his firing.
Doggrell was identified as a member of the league in a post by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog. Another officer, Lt. Wayne Brown, also identified in the blog, decided to retire in June to avoid “adverse publicity” and “creating a distraction” for the police department, officials said at the time.
In his opinion piece, Doggrell called the SPLC “a leftist, Marxist political organization disguising itself as a law firm that has long practiced and honed the art of character assassination against anyone with whom it disagrees with politically.”
During his testimony before the civil service board in September, Doggrell said he grew disillusioned with the League of the South last year as individuals within it began to identify with neo-Nazi elements. He repeated this in his piece, saying much of the evidence used against him were personal opinions from other individuals.
“Much of it I had never seen, things with which I did not agree, and were not League policy,” Doggrell wrote.
Calling his firing “an incredibly difficult time” for himself and his family, Doggrell blamed “the national atmosphere regarding police power in 2015” for the events that led to his firing, as well as “terrible leadership” at the city level.
“This time, the mob screamed loud enough and the city caved, thereby emboldening them for similar action in the future,” he stated. “How sad, Anniston. The mob now rules the city.”
To read the piece, click here.