Sheriff's Deputy Sues Over New HCSO Social Media Policy

If you're a Harris County Sheriff's Office employee, good luck sticking to the new restrictions put in place by the HCSO higher-ups that dictate what you can and can't post on social media.

Under the new policy, HCSO employees risk disciplinary action if their Facebook or Twitter posts "cause undue embarrassment or damage the reputation of and/or erode the public's confidence" in the sheriff's office. Posts containing any HCSO logos, badges or personal photographs that show employees in HCSO garb or uniform are prohibited without prior approval from a chief. Also: "speech containing crude, blasphemy (sic), negative, or untrue claims about the HCSO and/or any HCSO personnel is forbidden and therefore will be grounds for disciplinary action."

Similarly, HCSO employees now face disciplinary action for any comments on social media that "negatively affect the public perception of the HCSO."

Sound overly broad to you? It does to Harris County sheriff's deputy Carl Pittman, who sued Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia in federal court Monday over the 15-page policy implemented by HCSO last month. Pittman argues in his lawsuit that HCSO's new policy is chock-full of language that unlawfully curtails employees' First Amendment rights to free speech.

"This policy is a clear violation of the protections afforded by the First Amendment," Pittman told the Press Monday. "It says you can't say anything that might be embarrassing for the sheriff or the sheriff's office. That's just going way too far."

Pittman, of course, might have mixed motives for suing the sitting sheriff. He joined the field of Republican primary candidates hoping to challenge Garcia, a Democrat, in the 2012 general election (Louis Guthrie ultimately won the GOP primary but lost to Garcia in the general). Pittman openly admits "it is my intention to run in 2016," and says he fears the new social media policy might bar him from openly criticizing the sheriff in any future campaign.

"If I want to comment on something that's in the news or something the sheriff has done, if I want to add my two cents as a citizen, this policy seems to bar me from doing that," Pittman told the Press. "It bothers me when you start to try to silence people away from work."

HCSO responded to the lawsuit Monday with a statement saying the new policy was modeled after similar policies from other major law enforcement agencies across the country. "It has been long accepted and expected that public employees are held to a greater standard of conduct, whether on or off duty," the statement reads.

We asked how HCSO supervisors decide whether employees are permitted to look ...well, like HCSO employees in photos they post to their own social media accounts (the policy already contains rules prohibiting any photos that might out an undercover officer). We also asked whether the policy, as implemented, might preclude HCSO employees from using their own social media accounts to publicly disagree with the sheriff or speak out publicly against any policies and actions of HCSO. We'll update this post if and when HCSO answers our questions.

Skip down to page 16 of the lawsuit to read new policy in full:

Sheriff Adrian Garcia Social Media Complaint

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Terry Wagar
Terry Wagar

My wife Joan Wagar was having an affair with a Portland cop named Eric Carlson and he was acting as a double to set me up as a pedophile! When I found out my wife Joan Wagar was hooking our daughters up with a cop that was acting as a double I tried to warn people about it, and that's when I was severely poisoned by Joan Wagar! All of my wife's coworkers at East Port Walmart were calling officer Eric Carlson by the nickname Doubleclick because they knew he was acting as a double, and after my wife Joan Wagar poisoned me everyone at East Port Walmart started calling my wife by the nickname Mrs Dash! Police used their power of influence to cover up the poisonings at the hospital and I was repeatedly denied emergency services because of police influence and interference at the hospital! Shawna Wagar admits in writing to making false pedophile accusations about me and this occurred when my mother and father were poisoned and murdered by local police and by my wife Joan Wagar! April 2005 officer Eric Carlson and Joan Wagar adopted and actively used the nicknames Doubleclick and Mrs Dash in love letters and in their cellphones and it was East Port Walmart employees that first coined their nicknames! December 2005 I confronted my wife Joan Wagar with a audio recorder over that love letter Doubleclick the body double wrote my wife and she admits it's her love letter but refuses to admit to her nickname because she is trying to hide the fact she is a poisoner and that it is open knowledge at East Port Walmart, she still also is trying to hide the fact Eric Carlson is a cop and a look-a-like to me! 2006 because of police influence Joan Wagar aced a lie detector test I payed for! and two years later a detective Brian Assmus of the Oregon state police tried to cover up this lie detector test by stealing the page signed by the tester, good thing I have photo copy's of EVERYTHING! 2006 Two months later Joan Wagar A,K,A, Mrs Dash admits in her diary she lied on that lie detector test and admits to her affair with officer Eric Carlson and admits to using pills and antifreeze in her diary and admits to mixing drinks with poisons and admits she is a liar and a psycho and admits to poisoning a plasma donor and admits I was ill at the time and admits I cannot get help from police! 2006 A week later Joan Wagar writes her infamous denial letter denying her ongoing affair with officer Eric Carlson and denying she is a poisoner, everything in her denial letter is a lie and even her daughters were sleeping around with officer Eric Carlson and his partners, one of her daughters got pregnant at the time of Joan Wagar writing this by Eric Carlson's partner David! 2006 By the time of Joan Wagar writing this written confession that she uses antifreeze as poison I was so debilitated at this time I was bedridden, Joan Wagar tossed this at me like it was a Frisbee because she wanted to see if I could get out of bed to try and find help or not, I could not! 2007 the hospital admits I had abominable pain and internal bleeding but fakes not knowing what's wrong and once again refuses to take a toxicology test and ignores my complaints and covers up Joan Wagar's written confessions she is a poisoner! 2007 Officer Eric Carlson brags to Clackamas Walmart employees he's a twin and an alter ego and Walmart employee makes it known it is open knowledge at Clackamas Walmart he is a look-a-like to me and is using my wife Joan Wagar's locker where my audio recorder was! 2008 Portland police and OHSU hospital admitting to covering up my calls for help and threatening me telling me I am not welcome to help at a hospital! 2008 Multnomah county sheriff's covering up my calls for help and emails for help and are taunting me via their personal Blackberry emails! 2009 Police made sure I could not get help from any other hospital as well and no one will take a toxicology test! Officer Eric Carlson is one of the first responders to respond to my 911 call and he was NOT there to help! 2009 officer Eric Carlson and his bros in the Portland police and Joan Wagar made a audio death threat and broke into my home and put it on the computer, their using sound boards to say goodbye in multiple ways! The same day I found their audio death threat the police parked a black car with the Oregon license plate "SAYLVU" on it in front of my apartment! 2009 Another Portland police officer caught on video acting as a double of me outside my apartment and he is with a female that is acting as a double of my daughter Megan Wagar, here is a picture of Megan Wagar with officer Eric Carlson's partner David! And here is video of a police officer acting as a double of me and he is with a female acting as a double to my daughter Megan Wagar! 07-10-2009 Officer Eric Carlson caught on video paying children TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to frame me as a pedophile outside my apartment and children admitted I will be killed and admitted my family members were involved! 2009 Two weeks later Officer Eric Carlson and his partners and my wife Joan Wagar are caught outside my apartment building trespassing and waiting in ambush to shoot me, they are armed with guns, recording devices, and flashlights, and their car with the license plate "SAYLVU" is in the parking lot! 06-01-2014 Female sting operatives renting apartment below mine are deliberately placing small children in my path and then falsely labeling me as a pedophile! They continue to frame me as a pedo with intent of opening fire on me! Terry Wagar

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