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Missouri woman fired after post against police support sign

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. A Missouri woman says she was fired after criticizing a coffee shop on social media for displaying a sign supporting police.

JACKSON, Mo. >> A black Missouri woman says she was fired from her job after criticizing a coffee shop on social media for displaying a “Back the Blue” sign supporting police.

Brandi Wilson told the Southeast Missourian newspaper that she found the sign at Ground-A-Bout in Jackson, Missouri, disconcerting as an African-American who once lived in Ferguson, where officers and protesters clashed following the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown.

Wilson, a college student in Cape Girardeau, said she was fired from the Barrel 131 bar in Jackson after criticizing the sign in an Aug. 8 posting on Ground-A-Bout’s Facebook page. In the post, Wilson said the sign made her “super uncomfortable” and was “almost like a shouting ‘Black lives don’t matter’ sign.”

Ground-A-Bout owner Bob Schooley, a former sheriff’s deputy, responded with a post saying he was sorry for Wilson’s negative experience.

“Our support of law enforcement is IN NO WAY whatsoever stating that ‘black lives don’t matter,’” Schooley wrote. “We’ll be disappointed to lose your business ma’am, but the sign will remain.”

Hundreds of other people weighed in with comments, many denouncing Wilson.

The bar owners fired Wilson a day later.

“I know that’s why I was fired, and that’s the reason they told me,” Wilson said. “They didn’t give me some runaround. They said, ‘No. It’s just that there are people who will not come drink here if you’re working here.’”

Barrel 131 owners didn’t immediately return messages to The Associated Press seeking comment.

Wilson said her firing “tells people they shouldn’t respectfully stand up for themselves and say what things bother them.”

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