ACLU Weighs In on Knox Detective's Anti-LGBT Sermon, First Amendment Rights

The ACLU this week weighed in on the matter of a Knox County detective and pastor who maligned members of the LGBTQ community, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Detective Grayson Fritts gave a sermon to the All Scripture Baptist Church in Knoxville saying the government should arrest and execute members of the LGBTQ community. Sheriff Tom Spangler said he would not fire Fritts to protect taxpayers from a lawsuit that could cost the county millions. "You can look for the ACLU to look for a lawsuit," Spangler said. In response, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee Hedy Weinberg said the government can regulate its employees’ speech if there is a reason that outweighs the employee’s interest in exercising constitutional rights. Fritts is currently on sick leave until a buyout goes into effect on July 19.
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Citizen Requests Ouster Investigation of Knox Commissioner Gill

Following news of settlement in the case where Knox County Commissioner Evelyn Gill was accused of abusing an 11-year-old autistic boy, a member of the county’s ethics committee and resident in Gill’s district is calling for her ouster, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Michael Covington, who is considering running against Gill in next year’s commission race, sent a letter to Law Director Bud Armstrong Tuesday saying: “Mrs. Gill, by her actions, has shown that she lacks the character and temperament needed to function effectively in her current role with the county.” Covington further stated that while he doesn't think Gill has done a good job in office, this goes beyond that because “this is an incident that suggests that we didn’t really know her.” Gill is currently the only Democrat on the 11-member commission.

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