A midshipman facing expulsion after an investigation into alleged racist tweets he sent over the summer sued the Naval Academy Wednesday, claiming it is violating his constitutional rights of free speech and a fair and impartial hearing.
Midshipman 1st Class Chase Standage, 21, of California has been the subject of an open investigation in which Standage made several tweets over the summer, while home in California, that some allege are racist.
Vice Amiral Sean S. Buck ruled that several of Standage’s social media posts violated the Academy’s policy against political activities and the content constitutes conduct unbecoming a Midshipman.
The posts in question took place during a one week period in June of 2020 when Standage was home in California. Both of Standages’s parents are veteran law enforcment officers for the city of Los Angeles. Both of Standage’s parents were working around the clock with very little rest to support the greater Los Angeles area during that time. During this week, Standage claims that this was a high stress week for him as he watched the riots, looting, and open calls for the death of police officers.
“Go ahead, cut funds to the police,” Standage tweeted in response to a tweet calling for defunding police instead of more money for community policing. “Community policing by building relations is expensive and timely, anyways. Bullets, on the other hand, are cheap and in ready supply (shrugging emoji).”
A few days later, he tweeted “All it takes is one drone strike… (sic)” in response to a tweet from conservative media personality Andy Ngo about antifa protesters in Seattle.
Standage also responded to a call for the police officers who shot Breonna Taylor with, “She got justice on March 13, 2020”.
The lawsuit alledges that every step of the way during the disciplinary process, Standage was told that if his views did not line up with those of Black Lives Matter, anti-Fascist, or even anti-President Trump opinions, this alone ment that he was guilty of being a racist and therefore guilty of the charges against him.
Also stated in the lawsuit is the allegation that Capt. Buchanan, who had to recuse himself from the case after tweets from his daughter were made public, made it clear to the entire Brigade of Midshipmen that they were to embrace BLM and Antifa core principles. Capt Buchanan’s daughter’s twitter bio mentioned ACAB, all cops are bastards, and abolish ICE. Some of her tweets contained f*** the police, endorsements of Antifa, and “Mango Mussolini”, in regards to President Trump, “should go f*** himself”
In September, Buck released comments on racism at the academy, encouraging members to watch a video put together by the Midshipman Diversity Team.
“As I reflect on the past couple of months since the tragic death of George Floyd, I have been encouraged by the Academy’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni who understand the importance of diversity to our mission,” Buck said in his statement. “At the same time, I am not naïve in thinking that bigotry and racism do not exist, to some extent, within our Naval Academy family.”
Also alleged in the lawsuit and evidenced by the numerous exhibits, current and former Midshipmen engaged in racist, inflammatory, and hateful social media conversations. Some of these conversations and statements called for the removal of all white politicians; compared the President of the United States to Hitler and Sadam Hussein; and advocated for the shooting of a white couple who were defending their property in St. Louis with guns. Many advocated the destruction of statues and monuments all over the country. There were many calls for violence against and even for the death of Standage himself. Many posts applauded the rioting, looting, and openly called for a forced revolution. None of the Midshipmen face expulsion for these comments.
It should be noted that none of Standage’s tweets mention the race of anyone.
Standage’s lawyers argue that all of this adds up to viewpoint descrimination, meaning that If one’s viewpoints do not align with another, then that person’s free speech should be limited or silenced or in this case, kicked out of the Naval Academy.
Chase Standage, is an Aerospace Engineering major, with a cumulative 3.8 GPA, and has been accepted into graduate school through the prestigious Volunteer Graduate Education Program following the completion of his undergraduate studies in December. He is an accomplished Commercial Pilot, who flew an airplane solo at 16, before driving a car solo, earned his Private Pilot License at 17, Instrument rating at 18, and Commercial Pilot certificate at 21. His life long goal has always been to become a Navy Fighter Pilot.