Deputy Sheriff Stan Lenic, the cop who stood up for the First Amendment by refusing to impede the free speech rights of activists at Albany International Airport, has become an Internet icon, with messages of support flooding in to the Albany County Sheriff's Office and Lenic being honored with a commendation. A video that has now gone viral on You Tube shows Lenic refusing to follow the demands of Albany Airport's PR director Doug Myers in having activists Jason Bermas and Ashley Jessica identified, detained or removed for handing out flyers warning travelers about the dangers of airport body scanners as part of the Opt Out and Film campaign.
"Obviously this is your constitutional right, OK? As far as you're concerned, you're not breaking any laws. That's what we want to get across to you guys," Lenic told the activists, dismissing efforts by Myers to have the two kicked out of the airport.
When Myers attempted to have the activists identify themselves, winking at Deputy Lenic as he demanded Lenic take their IDs, Lenic fired back, stating, "If I was to ask for his identification he does not have to give it to me because he's not doing anything wrong."
The Albany County Sheriff's Office has since been bombarded with hundreds of positive emails and calls from liberty lovers championing Lenic for his fine work in defending the First Amendment against petty enforcers like Doug Myers.
Comments on YouTube were also overwhelmingly supportive of Deputy Lenic.
"Finally a cop that does his job properly. Makes a change from all of the bad cop films we've seen lately. Hats off to the man," wrote one.
"This Sheriff is an absolute paragon for justice," added another.
Lenic already has his own Facebook page where people are reposting the video and urging Lenic to run for Mayor.
"That's a little overwhelming. I mean, I was doing my job I felt I was doing the right thing protecting people's First Amendment rights," Lenic told NewsChannel 13.
Lenic later emailed Jason Bermas the following message;
"I am overwhelmed by the support your viewers have given me. I hope other fellow officers will see this and not view the freedom of speech as a threat, but an opportunity to show the professionalism that law enforcement should be held to. I remember the day I was sworn in, and I remember that I am supposed to protect the constitution of the United States. I am proud to be a Deputy Sheriff, and try to do my job to the best of my ability so help me God."
Lenic also told Bermas that his superiors were considering giving him an official commendation for his exemplary actions in defending the constitutional rights he swore to uphold.