A California nurse who was fired after publishing Facebook posts saying that Stephon Clark deserved to be shot and killed by police has now raised more than $15,000 on GoFundMe to pay her bills, The Sacramento Bee reports.
Last month, labor and delivery nurse Faith Linthicum commented on the death of the 22-year-old Clark, who was shot on March 18 by Sacramento police officers.
“Yeah but he was running from the police jumping over fences and breaking in people’s houses … why run??!!!” Linthicum wrote on Facebook. “He deserved it for being stupid.”
Christina Arechiga, a Sacramento activist, saw the posts and shared them out of concern that Linthicum held those views while serving minorities as a nurse.
“How can we trust our lives, the lives of our black and brown babies to these people,” Arechiga wrote. “Nurses are supposed to help people, not be happy when people die.”
Linthicum’s employer, Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center saw Arechiga’s post and placed Linthicum on administrative leave before releasing a statement days later that Linthicum was no longer with the organization.
“Kaiser Permanente does not tolerate hate or discrimination and has a long history of embracing diversity and inclusion,” Kaiser Vice President Yvette Radford said in a statement. “We are very much a part of the wonderful and rich diversity of the communities we serve and feel a deep responsibility to them. We are deeply saddened by the events associated with Stephon Clark’s death, and will continue to do our part to make sure the community is healthy, safe and inclusive.”
The GoFundMe page
Linthicum, who said she is a former military medic, started a GoFundMe page to solicit donations during her unemployment to pay her bills.
Her goal was to raise at least $25,000, and after only a few days, she already had raised $15,000.
“Recently, I have been in the news due to a misconception from an activist group here in Sacramento,” Linthicum wrote on the page. “I assure you, and for those that know me, I am not a hateful or discriminatory person. As a person of faith, and a nurse, I love all people and treat everyone equally.
“I believe Kaiser Permanente violated my First Amendment right to free speech in order to protect themselves from the wrath of these activists,” Linthicum wrote. “I am now unemployed and unable to pay rent, buy food for myself and my two dogs (French Bulldog & Great Dane), or make my car payments/insurance. I am asking for support during this trying time as I try to find employment and heal. Thank you very much for your consideration and support. Anything helps!”
Was the firing legal?
Although Linthicum claimed that her First Amendment rights were violated by her employer, Kaiser Permanente is a private sector company and therefore was able to discipline or terminate Linthicum for personal speech or conduct it found to be detrimental, as long as the company was not violating anti-discrimination laws with the firing.