SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA/AP) — A Southern California prosecutor has been placed on leave following a report that he posted discriminatory comments on social media targeting a U.S. lawmaker and the victim of a police shooting.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office on Monday said Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem was placed on paid leave while an investigation is pending.
The Orange County Register reported last week the gang prosecutor targeted Rep. Maxine Waters, former first lady Michelle Obama and Mexican immigrants with posts a critic described as “hateful rhetoric.”
On Monday, the San Bernardino Sun reported Seylem had been placed on paid leave over the comments, pending an investigation.
“Being a loud-mouthed c–t in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this b—h by now,” Seylem said of Waters, according to the paper.
Another comment about an officer-involved shooting went, “That s–tbag got exactly what he deserved. […] You reap what you. And by the way go fyourself you liberal s–tbag.”
Seylem also posted a doctored photo of Michelle Obama with the caption, “Trump grabbed my penis.”
District Attorney Mike Ramos says he learned of the comments two weeks ago after other attorneys complained.
“The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office does not condone hate, discrimination or incitement of violence,” Ramos said in a statement. “Our community and the entire criminal justice system depends on having fair, ethical, and unbiased prosecutors.”
He says individual free speech rights must be balanced with the need for ethical and unbiased prosecutors.
“For us, that is fighting words, and that’s why we’re here, let him know we’ll take this fight right to his doorstep,” said activist Najee Ali with Operation HOPE, community group working in under-served neighborhoods. “He’s [an] equal opportunity racist, and we all should be concerned that this man has power over people’s lives. And that’s why he must go, because he could never be trusted again and does not have the integrity, the character or the morals to serve.”
Selyem apparently posted one of the comments in response to a Facebook post about controversial comments Waters made last month in which she apparently advocated for the public harassment of Trump administration members at public places.
Since Waters made the comments, several administration officials have been heckled and harassed, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
An email message was sent to Selyem seeking comment.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)