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Nation of Islam rejects arbiter’s call for reinstatement of Akron officer

By The Final Call | Last updated: Dec 10, 2019 - 10:55:33 AM

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(L) Officer James Anthony (R) Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

CHICAGO— In response to media reports that the city of Akron, Ohio has been advised by an arbiter to rehire detective James Anthony, who was fired over an offensive Facebook post about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam issued a statement calling for rejection of the arbiter’s decision.

“The city fired Anthony, a 23-year veteran of the department, in February after an internal investigation into an Oct. 30, 2018 post on his personal Facebook page that wondered ‘how it is that no one has offed Farrakhan,’ according to WKYC,” said. An arbiter recently decided the officer should be rehired and given back pay. City officials told the media Dec. 9 they are reviewing the arbiter’s decision. “While we ultimately disagree with the arbitrator’s position that Mr. Anthony’s egregious conduct did not merit termination, we are pleased that the arbitrator agreed that Mr. Anthony’s conduct violated the city’s policies, and constituted ‘conduct unbecoming’ of a member of the Akron Police Department,” the city said in a statement. “A clear, unequivocal message has been sent—and upheld by the arbitrator—that this sort of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated within the Akron Police Department.”

Student Min. Steven Muhammad addresses Akron City Council in November 2018 regarding alleged online threat by Akron police officer against Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Nation of Islam officials said in a December 9 statement:

“The Nation of Islam strongly disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision to reinstate Akron, Ohio Det. James Anthony to the police department and to award him back pay. Det. Anthony’s social media post asking the question, ‘Why hasn’t anyone offed Farrakhan’ was a clear attempt to incite violence. Any person who is sworn to intercede in acts of violence should not then seek to incite violence. We encourage the Akron Police Department to appeal the arbitrator’s ruling.”