Published March 26, 2021
By Jack Burke Jr. [contributor to The Tennessee Conservative] –
My name is Jack Burke.
I am writing because I am a firm believer in the First Amendment. Due to all the recent cancel culture attempts, which the media always extends to the Liberals, I think that it is important to get my story out. The cancel culture does not belong exclusively to the left, but also RINO Republicans.
In 2020, I spoke to a State Representative here in Tennessee regarding very liberal reform measures taking place in the name of Covid.
As a private citizen, I engaged this Representative in a conversation and posted my concerns on social media. Two days following our conversation, I was called into the office, stripped of my duty weapon and equipment and paraded around the office as a criminal. This is my story:
In September 2020, I was fired from my position with the State of Tennessee after years of exemplary service. I had served the State as a Parole Officer for several years after returning to Criminal Justice after 8 years of service as a Deputy Sheriff.
I had suffered severe injuries to my face as Deputy Sheriff that led to surgeries and many procedures to correct the trauma. Doctors told me that I may never be able to mentally or physically go back to that line of work ever again. I was determined to prove them all wrong. I did when I returned to serve the State of Tennessee as a Parole Officer.
I quickly rose within the field, being promoted after only one year of service for my hard work to a Parole Officer II position. I remained the only parole officer for my service area, serving over 5 counties at one time.
During this time, I was awarded for being the top performing officer in the District. I consistently ranked within the top 5 officers each month and sometimes put in over 60 hours a week in order to meet the needs of the community and those under supervision.
However, none of that mattered on September 14, 2020. Prior to this time, there had been a lot of talk in the news about nationwide criminal justice reform. Reform that was geared to mass release and a lack of accountability for criminals. The media had confined these types of reform to “Liberal States”, yet the very same proposals were being suggested right here in Tennessee.
I had posted a series of posts critical of the Governor and his administration for the proposed liberal reforms to the criminal justice system. I had done this on social media with a very limited and controlled audience. What does that mean? My Facebook posts are set to friends only, no co-workers and no identifying markers to my job.
However, I had one friend who had influence. That person was a State Representative for my local district. On September 12, 2020, I happened to see this Representative at a local Trump Boat Rally.
I decided to discuss with her my concern as a private citizen the details of the proposed reforms.
This Representative disagreed with my viewpoints and a local Republican Party leader interjected into the conversation.
Keep in mind this party official had verbally accosted me via text message months before for not supporting the incumbent Congressman. Needless to say, to the Representative seemed bothered that I would confront her on the issues. I was not prepared for what would happen next.
Two days after, on September 14, 2020, I received a call from my supervising officer. He advised me that I needed to report to the office in full uniform. Upon arrival, I was met with the District Director, my supervising officer and another officer of rank.
I sat down and read monotonically that I was dismissed. I was in shock! Fired, for what? I had been their top officer, no disciplinary complaints, no public grievances, nothing!
The Director proceeded to state that they had received an anonymous complaint from outside the District of my social media posts.
He stated that due to these posts I was being fired for a whole list of allegations. He refused to answer any questions, they striped me of all my duty gear immediately.
Then they proceeded to parade me around the office as an example making me pack up my belongings under the watchful eye of a supervisor. I was then escorted again through the office and out the door. Never to be heard from again.
I was informed that the State did have an appeal process. I tried my luck with pleading my case. It was then I found out that I would be pleading my case to the very people that fired me. They ignored evidence that operations were not disrupted and policies were actually violated. Needless to say, those allegations remained and I decided to pursue legal recourse.
Since September 2020, I have tried to file for State unemployment benefits. The state has refused to process my application and it has remained pending since. My reputation as an officer is now tarnished and the made-up allegations stain my employment record which has made it very difficult to find a job.
I know that God will see me through the stress of this situation, but the legal defense will be one that has nationwide implications to the First Amendment.
That is why I am asking for help in getting my story heard. Liberal reform that favors the criminal is not just confined to California, New York or Washington State. These things are happening in RED state like Tennessee. We must stop this persecution of the First Amendment and the agenda of the establishment.
Thank you and God Bless.