A Logan County man said he was fired from his job after posting a video of Senator Richard Ojeda. The cellphone video, posted on Facebook, shows Ojeda passing the man’s truck on a double-yellow line on Route 10. The Logan man, David Woolsey, has now filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Ojeda. Woolsey’s attorney claims Ojeda violated Woolsey’s right to free speech by retaliating against him.
David Woolsey posted the Facebook video April 20th, 2018. Woolsey said it shows himself in the passenger’s seat and a co-worker in the driver’s seat, on their way to a delivery in Huntington. The two work for McCormick and were driving a company car at the time. Woolsey says Senator Ojeda passed him once, but when he was about to pass again, he took out his cellphone to film the incident.
Woolsey claims he was fired from McCormick’s the next day, in retaliation for the video.
Woolsey’s attorney, John Bryan released this statement to 13 News:
“This case is not about supporting, or defending any political campaign. David Woolsey is just a regular guy who had his life turned upside down by his state senator. We firmly believe he was put in this position for a reason. This situation poses an important First Amendment issue. Can a sitting state senator take to his official Facebook page in order to retaliate against an individual constituent who expressed political criticism? As we allege in the Complaint, political expression is the heart of the First Amendment. If we allow Mr. Woolsey to be destroyed for daring to post a video of a senator’s traffic violation, or for supporting another candidate, what citizen is going to want to participate in the political process at all? Rights must be protected, lest they be lost entirely. “
13 News reached out to Senator Ojeda to comment on the case. He had previously stated, in a Facebook video, that it was him in Woolsey’s clip, but that he passed the truck to avoid Woolsey’s “dangerous” driving. Ojeda said in a statement to 13 News:
“This is a political stunt. We are in a country where a person can submit a frivolous lawsuit that has no merit whatsoever to demonize the politician that they do not support.”
We will follow the case and update this story.