State investigating 2 employees over bumper sticker response, Facebook posts
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has asked the Department of Law to investigate how two state employees reacted to a bumper sticker on a pickup truck parked in a state parking lot on Eighth Avenue and A Street in Anchorage.
The sticker read, “Black Rifles Matter,” and was discovered on the truck parked Thursday in an area reserved for employees working at the Alaska State Human Rights Commission and the Department of Corrections.
Marti Buscaglia, the executive director for the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, said she is one of those being investigated and will fully cooperate with the Department of Law.
Buscaglia said the sticker drew unfavorable responses from employees at her agency.
She asked Kendall Rhyne, a chief probation officer with DOC and second person under review, to place their business cards on the truck. On the back of Buscaglia’s card, she wrote: “Please do not park this truck with that offense sticker in this parking lot.”
Buscaglia said the card contained direct phone access to her and she had hoped to receive a call to learn more about the bumper sticker.
“I wrote it on my business card expressly for the purpose that I expected the person to call me when they got it,” she said in a phone interview. “It has my direct line on there. The connotation that if you pull into the human commission parking lot and you see a truck with that sticker, you would wonder what’s going on.”
Buscaglia said she never heard from anyone, but Brenton Linegar posted photos of Buscaglia and Rhyne’s cards on Facebook, generating more than 2,000 comments.
KTVA reached out to Linegar, but had not heard back at the time of publication.
Buscaglia said she, too, posted a photo. Her image of the bumper sticker on the department’s Facebook page was captioned, “In what world is this OK?”
“Perhaps that was not the smartest thing to do,” said, Buscaglia, who added she is a gun owner, “but that’s how I solicit feedback from the people on our page. My intent was to fulfill our mission to seek out and eliminate discrimination and thought this might be discriminatory.”
The post was later removed, acknowledging, “It offended many gun owners who felt we were against the second amendment and the right of citizens to own guns. Please know that is not the case.”
Officials with the DOC had no comment on Rhyne's involvement in the incident.
On Friday, Dunleavy announced the investigation, writing in his own Facebook post:
“After review of a post made on the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights social media page yesterday, my office has requested the Department of Law launch an immediate investigation into the matter. Protecting an individual’s constitutional rights, including the 1st amendment, is of the utmost importance to this administration.”
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