A student at a Texas college is facing ridicule and possible criminal prosecution after she tweeted out that murdered Texas police officer Darren Goforth may have deserved to die because of his “creepy perv eyes.”
Goforth was ambushed and killed Friday at a Houston gas station, sparking outrage across the country. On Tuesday, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) student Monica Foy posted a tweet saying the outrage over Goforth’s death might be premature.
Foy’s comment quickly went viral and attracted a great deal of negative attention. She soon deleted the tweet, and by Wednesday both her Twitter and Facebook accounts had been shut down entirely.
SHSU was hit by a wave of complaints from people calling for the school to investigate and potentially punish Foy with a suspension or expulsion. The school soon promised to investigate Foy, putting a statement on Facebook:
“SHSU has a strong Student Code of Conduct. The student’s remarks will be evaluated to determine if the code was violated following standardized due process. The university has an ongoing commitment to taking actions that strengthen dialog and understanding between our students and the law enforcement community.”
Foy has a lot more to worry about than just academic issues, though. On Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a tipster informing them that Foy had an outstanding arrest warrant for an assault committed in Harris County. After using their system to confirm the warrant, deputies went and arrested Foy at her home. The Chronicle says Foy’s charge is likely to be a misdemeanor.
Foy understandably doesn’t have many defenders, but some support is coming from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which condemned SHSU for caving to an “Internet mob” and pledging to investigate and potentially punish Foy for her tweet.
“[Foy’s] speech is, without question, protected by the First Amendment, which, as a public institution, SHSU is bound to uphold,” said FIRE’s Peter Bonilla. “SHSU is free to use this controversy as an opportunity to clarify its own values, and to express its opposition to the sentiments of Foy’s remarks, as indeed it has already done. But SHSU cannot, consistent with its constitutional obligations, sanction Foy in any way due to her remarks or any offense caused by them.”
FIRE implied that it may be willing to help Foy sue SHSU if she is punished for her remarks.