Officer Matt Whitton of the Clayton County Police Department lost more than his credibility when his amazing “Bigfoot” discovery turned out to be a soggy polyester ape costume. The moment the news reached Police Chief Jeffery Turner, he fired Whitton.
Whitton was one of two Atlanta-area men who briefly commanded headlines by claiming they had a dead Bigfoot specimen on ice. When the purported carcass thawed at a California paranormal conference, all that was left was a not-too-convincing gorilla suit. Whitton and his alleged accomplice shortly disappeared.
“He’s disgraced himself, he’s an embarrassment to the Clayton County Police Department, his credibility and integrity as a police officer is gone, and I have no use for him,” Turner told Cox News Service.
Turner said he was baffled by Whitton’s decision to participate in the bizarre scheme. Whitton tried to downplay it as a silly prank, but the fact that he accepted a large sum of money to display his ersatz Sasquatch—and then made himself as scarce as the legendary beast—made it much, much more serious.
Clayton County police are now eagerly seeking news of Matt Whitton sightings, so they can serve termination papers and get back their uniforms.
Note: It is legal to fire employees for off-duty misconduct if the misconduct affects your legitimate business interests. That can include abstract things such as your company’s good name. Because the public’s interest in the authority of police is very high, law enforcement officers are generally held to high standards.