Twitter post costs deputy AG his job

Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 24, 2011, 11:00am

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Wednesday that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox "is no longer employed by this agency" for inappropriate comments he made via Twitter.

Zoeller's office, in a statement, said it conducted "a thorough and expeditious review after 'Mother Jones' magazine today published an article attributing private Twitter postings and private blog postings to Cox."

According to the Indianapolis Star, Cox was posting comments critical of labor union protesters in Wisconsin.

The ongoing protests, involving thousands of public employees, union members and others, began on Feb. 15 in opposition to legislation proposed by Gov. Scott Walker.

The legislation would require state employees to make payments toward their state pensions for the first time and would eliminate or weaken collective bargaining rights for those public employee union members. Walker, a Republican, proposed the changes in response to state budget deficits.

Cox sent a message on his Twitter account saying police should "use live ammunition" against the protesters, the newspaper said.

When a staffer for Mother Jones -- a nonprofit news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting -- sent a message to Cox, he messaged back that the protesters were "political enemies" and "thugs," the Star reported.

"You're damned right I advocate deadly force," Cox wrote to the staffer, according to the Indianapolis newspaper.

Zoeller said in a statement Wednesday, "Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General's Office.

"We respect individuals' First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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