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“He should not have been punished for that,” Piedmont police officer suspended after Facebook posts about Special Olympics

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PIEDMONT, Okla. – He posted on social media to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Now, that Piedmont police officer is suspended.

After Officer Scott Gibbons had to turn in his gun, badge and police car, his supporters launched a change.org petition.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, it had over 800 signatures.

But, the police chief tells NewsChannel 4 the reason behind Gibbons’ suspension is all a big misunderstanding.

For years, Gibbons has raised money for the Special Olympics, doing the polar plunge with officers from other police departments.

Now, he’s on paid leave for posting about it on Facebook.

“It’s tough on a guy, who that gave his heart and soul to his city, to have that happen,” said Phil Wise.

Wise represents Gibbons for the Fraternal Order of Police.

He said Gibbons has always raised money for the Special Olympics through social media.

“There has never been an issue with him using the city’s logo and the police department stuff,” Wise said.

Wednesday, the FOP filed a grievance to the city for Gibbons.

On change.org, a lengthy petition states:

"The FOP is stumped as to why the Piedmont Police Department would not want its officers participating in the Special Olympics."

The petition goes on, calling for the police chief to resign.

But, Chief Scott Singer tells us the people signing the petition have gotten bad information.

“They've been misled intentionally, I believe,” Singer said.

Singer said he suspended Gibbons over their social media policy.

In a copy of the policy, you can see it bans endorsing any social issue, cause or religion unless specifically authorized by the Chief of Police.

“It’s a matter of policy," Singer said. "It’s not a matter of his commitment, which I applaud, to a service agency such as Special Olympics."

Gibbons posted this on Facebook last week:

“Per my orders, I have and will be removing my association with my department from any online or printed materials."

“There’s always some cops who do bad things on social media, and they get in trouble, which is fine, but this is a good thing, and we feel he should not have been punished for that at all,” Wise said.

Gibbons has apologized on Facebook for anyone he might have offended.

Today, the FOP, Singer and the city manager all met and told NewsChannel 4 they’re doing an expedited investigation.