A Peabody police officer whom the originator of an Internet campaign about flag desecration had identified as his primary source was fired Monday after a series of closed sessions by the Peabody City Council.
City Administrator Mac Manning declined to comment on the reason for Officer Jeremy Miller’s termination.
In a conversation Thursday, National Guard Sgt. Kevin Linscheid, who orchestrated an e-mail and Facebook campaign about flag desecration Memorial Day weekend at Prairie Lawn Cemetery, identified Miller, who is his neighbor, as the source for much of his information.
Sheriff Rob Craft, in charge of investigating the desecration, earlier termed much of the information false.
Miller was fired after Police Chief Bruce Burke requested a 20-minute executive session Monday night to discuss personnel with Manning, Mayor Larry Larsen, and the City Council.
After 20 minutes, a second executive session was called, again to discuss personnel.
When the council reconvened in open session, member David Scott made a motion to terminate Miller effective immediately and to pay him for accumulated vacation days. The motion passed unanimously.
Burke was instructed to contact Miller immediately and to retrieve Miller’s police car and any other city property in his possession.
Burke will advertise the open position on the Kansas Peace Offices Association website.
In March, police and firefighters responded to a 1 a.m. arson fire at Miller’s residence, where two vehicles were ablaze. Fire had spread to grass in the yard and an empty lot next door, but no one was injured.
The fire destroyed a Chevrolet S-10 pickup that belonged to Miller. A 1992 two-door Chevrolet sedan also burned.
A third vehicle, a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser belonging to the City of Peabody, was damaged in an attempt to set it on fire.
At the time, Burke confirmed that the fire — the third of three suspicious fires in Peabody — was arson.
The continuing investigation is a joint effort of Peabody Police, Marion County sheriff’s department, the Kansas Fire Marshal, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Miller could not be reached for comment.