by Save The Post Office, published April 22, 2015
From the Tampa Bay News, “Ruskin gyrocopter pilot says postal officials are telling him not to talk to media,” April 20, 2015
The Ruskin mail carrier who last week flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington D.C., to make a political statement says he has been put on paid leave with the U.S. Postal Service with orders not to discuss his story with the media.
“I was informed by the acting postmaster—and he sounded like he was reading from a script—that I was on administrative leave pending an investigation,” Hughes wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.
“I am NOT allowed on postal property without advance permission and I can only enter the building through the front if I do visit with permission. (This injunction always precedes a termination.) I asked about the nature of the administrative leave—it’s with pay BUT I’m not allowed to talk to the media AT ALL.”
It is another restriction that Hughes said he intends to violate. He said the move amounted to a “gag order” that he did not respect.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service said she could not discuss Hughes’ employment status.
“I can confirm that he is a rural mail carrier,” said Enola Rice, the USPS regional communications director for Central Florida. “We don’t discuss the status of employees. All I can do is confirm that he is an employee.”
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From NBC News, “Gyrocopter Pilot, Doug Hughes, Frustrated His Message Isn’t Getting Through,” April 19, 2015
Hughes spent a night in jail after Capitol Police arrested him. The ultralight aircraft and its cargo—a U.S. Postal Service bin carrying the letters—were seized.
Hughes’ Russian-born wife, Alena, told the AP that her husband acted out of patriotism for the United States.
Asked Sunday if he too thinks he’s a patriot or simply crazy, Hughes said. “Everyone gets to make up their own mind about me, that’s what I’d say.”
“But do you consider yourself a patriot?” a reporter asked.
“No, I’m a mailman,” he said.
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From his Letter to Congress, Doug Hughes, April 15, 2015
“The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself. They know it. They know we know it. And yet, Nothing Happens!” —John Kerry, 2-13