If this was an anonymous post, it’s hard to see how it violates a public comment rule. Kelly was reportedly the victim of a security breach. It is also noteworthy that Rittenhouse has not been found guilty and is entitled to a presumption of innocence. Rittenhouse insists that he defend himself after an attack. This is obviously a highly competitive defense that has shared many. It is ultimately up to the court and jury to decide.
Police officers (and paramedics) should be able to make donations to legal funds without being harassed by the media or fired from their departments. The fact that Kelly anonymously added a message to a legal protection fund doesn’t imply either his department or his colleagues. If the report of the violation is true, the comment should not be published. This would mean dismissing an official for a non-public communication – the same status as a private communication. The question is whether the department would fire an officer who privately made such a remark in an email to friends that was later hacked.
I think the case raises very serious concerns about freedom of expression and the rights of association. The Utah case is particularly appalling as the media tries to embarrass or harass public employees who donate to controversial causes or legal protection funds.
At the very least, the department should have allowed a reasonable amount of time to investigate and review these issues before Kelly was fired. Aside from his 18 years in the civil service, Kelly remains a citizen with fundamental rights granted to him under the First Amendment.