COLUMBIA, S.C. - A claim by a police officer that he was demoted in retaliation for voicing objections at public meetings to a proposed police force merger fails because the officer's speech was not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, U.S.C.S. Const. Amend. 1, a South Carolina federal judge held Oct. 24 (Andre J. Williams v. Randy Scott, No. 3:11-02179, D. S.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152489).