Delaware prison instructor says he was fired for talking about riot

Kelly Gibbs had pled guilty this week to riot, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection to the February 1-2, 2017 riot at Vaughn. (File/WHYY)

Kelly Gibbs had pled guilty this week to riot, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection to the February 1-2, 2017 riot at Vaughn. (File/WHYY)

A former prison culinary instructor is suing Delaware education officials in federal court, claiming he was wrongfully fired for speaking about a deadly prison riot and hostage taking.

In a complaint Monday, Anthony Stella claims state officials violated his free speech rights and breached his employment contract by terminating him without just cause.

Stella was working at Delaware’s maximum-security prison when inmates seized a building on Feb. 1, killing a guard and taking three other staffers hostage.

Stella says he spoke to a reporter that day about the incident as “a private citizen on a matter of public interest.” He also posted his thoughts on Facebook but deleted them after being contacted by a supervisor.

Stella was later informed that he was being terminated for misconduct and neglect of duty.

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