LYNWOOD, CA – It’s a statement that can only be described as shocking and disturbing. And it could cost the Lynwood City Manager his job.
On Tuesday night, Jose Ometeotl was placed on paid administrative leave. The move comes pending an internal investigation, sparked after he posted a response to the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton.
In the wake of the shooting of two deputies over in Compton, California, the Lynwood City Manager thought it was the most appropriate time to offer commentary that implied that it was the deputies’ fault that they were shot by a merciless criminal.
This commentary was paired with a meme shared online by the City Manager that said “Chickens Come Home to Roost”.
Jose Ometeotl is the Lynwood City Manager that shared a (now deleted) post to Instagram. Bill Melugin from Fox LA shared a screen grab of the offending post shared by Ometeotl.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 13, 2020
On the Instagram post was a picture of Malcom X, which was captioned with “chickens come home to roost”. For those unaware of the meaning of said expression, “chickens come home to roost” is typically used as another way of saying “what goes around comes around”.
Basically, it’s an indictment of you reap what you sow.
But if that meme were not enough – as by it’s lonesome could have been ambiguous in nature – Ometeotl made sure to explain on the same post by indicating that it was in reference to the shooting of the two deputies in Compton:
“The shooting of anyone is a wholly unacceptable occurrence in society. I do not condone the type of violence seen in the shooting of the deputies in Compton.”
Jose Ometeotl, the city manager of Lynwood, California, posted a note on his Instagram account this weekend that referred to the shooting of two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies as the “chickens come home to roost.” https://t.co/kUejRiJBZX
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 14, 2020
Now if Ometeotl excluded the meme and kept the statement at that regarding the shooting of these two deputies, there wouldn’t be any issue. But, aside from the meme that implied a sense of karma against the deputies, Ometeotl continued writing the following to eliminate all doubt of what he was conveying with the meme:
“I will say that communities like Compton have been plagued by deputy gangs that inflict fear and violence in the community.
These deputies murdered, framed and stole from the community just because they could.
Good deputies never turned on bad deputies for fear of retaliation and when caught most of these bad deputies kept their jobs and continued on their criminal career.”
Ometeotl literally referred to sheriff’s office deputies as being some sort of gang members. With how Ometeotl framed law enforcement in Compton, he writing continued to express that deputies being shot by criminals is something “to be expected”:
“The fact that someone randomly opened fire on deputies is to be expected in the society we live in today. The political climate and leadership of Sheriff Villanueva has only sowed the seeds of anger and frustration in the community.
I pray for the deputies and their families while still demanding justice for Andres Guardato, Breona Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery …”
Long story short, Ometeotl basically alleged that the shooting of the deputies was bad, but that the deputies somewhat had it coming because the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department are gang members.
We’re sorry, what?
Two LASD deputies were ambushed and shot, yet a city official said these attacks are, “to be expected in the society we live in today.” This disgusting rhetoric will only embolden more violent criminals.https://t.co/C8ytzdaUpV
— Liberty Alliance (@LibertyAllUSA) September 14, 2020
Yet, that’s not where this debacle ends exactly as we’re within the era of people getting lambasted for their social media activity. And you can bet that the City of Lynwood responded – but their response to this post was nothing more than one sentence mentioning it:
“There have been comments made today (Sunday) by our City Manager on his personal social media that are his personal opinions and don’t reflect the position of the Lynwood City Council.”
— City of Lynwood (@MyLynwoodca) September 13, 2020
No mentions of a reprimand, no mentioning that the comments were abhorrent – just simply stating that Ometeotl’s opinions are solely his own and nothing more.
But a change.org petition calling for Ometeotl to resign had received more than 1,200 signatures as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Lynwood City Council voted on Tuesday night to place Ometeotl on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation. Community Development Director Michelle Ramirez was appointed acting city manager.
Now, there have been many examples in recent history where people employed by a city-run entity that have suffered consequences for far less offensive posts (like when a Broward County prosecutor was fired for calling rioters “animals”), and people commenting online regarding the statement are well aware of it.
Only if it is completely ignorant, vial, and hates on innocent people.
— Kyle (@Kyle56558638) September 14, 2020
But apparently saying cops deserve to get shot seems to just get a one-sentence mention on it being the opinions of the City Manager and nothing more.
If you think that’s crazy, wait until you hear about what got Maryland state official fired for when posting things online.
This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
MARYLAND – Getting “cancelled” is something not new these days, but the barometer for getting “cancelled” is sinking to new lows.
In this instance, we’re dealing with a Maryland state official that was fired from their position for suggesting that Kyle Rittenhouse “seems like a good person” via a Facebook post the person shared.
Maryland Official Fired for Memes Supporting Kenosha Shooter Arthur "Mac" Love IV, an official with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's administration was fired Saturday for posting memes on Facebook supporting Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the s… https://t.co/7hij6PXaXj
— ❌ Rocky ❌ (@RockyFark) September 1, 2020
The person fired was Arthur “Mac” Love IV, who previously served as the deputy director for the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives in Maryland.
The offending post was apparently a picture of Kyle Rittenhouse cleaning up graffiti in Kenosha, which Love captioned with the following:
“I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s administration terminated Love from his position on August 29th, for Love allegedly posting “divisive images and statements” on his personal social media account.
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Keep in mind, this post didn’t romanticize the deaths of any of the people in Rittenhouse’s case – and there’s plenty of fodder to make jabs at the deceased and injured from the case.
Furthermore, just about any position published on someone’s personal social media accounts can be deemed “divisive”.
But state lawmakers, such as Democrat Delegate Eric Luedtke, also added fuel to the fire, trying to racialize a post made by Love that had a meme showing a police officer with the caption:
“Don’t be a thug if you can’t take a slug”.
Update: He's been fired, as he should have been. Still no response from Hogan on the demands for an executive order on police use of force.
— Delegate Eric Luedtke (@EricLuedtke) August 29, 2020
Ironically, people online clutched their proverbial pearls as though there was some kind of hidden racial connotation behind Love’s post.
However, the word “thug” doesn’t automatically mean “black” – yet those who were offended by the shared meme automatically assumed it was referring to someone black.
Can you point out where the meme displayed any hint of race? Or do you automatically assume when someone says "thug" they're referring to someone black?
— Greg Hoyt (@GregHoytLET) September 1, 2020
The fact of the matter is that cancel culture is a byproduct of those who vehemently disagree with someone so much that they must find a way to inflict some sort of damage or hardship upon their intended target’s lives.
In this case, it was a man’s livelihood because he was in support of someone who has been criminally charged in a case that has sparked national attention and a fair split of divided opinions.
I can assure you, if Love posted a meme saying that Rittenhouse is “guilty”, then there’d be zero ramifications.
Or better yet, if Love came to the defense of a certain alleged rapist that gained national attention in Wisconsin – he’d likely get praise by these very same people.
But saying that Rittenhouse “seems like a good person” is just unacceptable to those who deem what is the correct opinion, despite there being copious amounts of evidence that shows Rittenhouse was indeed a pretty good person overall.
“I’m not asking nor do I want my job back, would you?” Arthur (Mac) Love IV said during a press conference outside Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in Baltimore Monday afternoon. “I just want my life back — I’m an innocent American.” https://t.co/eOWHLFqjVs
— WTOP (@WTOP) September 1, 2020
A spokesperson for Love, Gary Collins, is appalled at the maligning of Love and his subsequent termination.
Collins stated that Love feels as though he was “unfairly terminated” without Governor Hogan’s administration even considering the context of his private social media use:
“Mr. Love has dedicated his life to public service for unprivileged communities throughout Maryland and the nation. Any claims of racial bias or any sort of hate are categorically unfounded.
Mr. Love merely suggested on his private social media account, on his own time, that perhaps the nation should not cast immediate judgment on Kyle Rittenhouse before the court of law renders a decision.”
It’s unclear what recourse Love has in this matter, but considering that this incident stems from Love’s private social media use and he was dismissed from a position within a government office, this could create some speculation on whether this was a First Amendment violation or not.
The reason being is that the order to terminate Love had to come from the office of the governor and/or the administration – which it did.
Take into consideration that if you’re a government employee, getting fired over your speech in any capacity is extremely dicey. In fact, the Supreme Court has already established case law on when a government employee can be terminated over their speech.
The fist thing to check is if the speech made, in this case the Facebook posts, was during the enactment of their official duties. If that is the case, then the speech is not protected. As stated by Love’s spokesperson, Love made these posts “on his own time”.
Now that we’ve established that, all Love would have to do is showcase three simple things to prove his speech is protected:
- The speech was a matter of public concern (which the Rittenhouse case is a national topic with heated debate)
- The government employee’s interest in commenting on this matter of public concern outweighs the employer’s interest in regulating the speech (it’s a little dicey, but an argument can be made that Love’s right to enjoy public discourse certainly outweighs any outrage it creates)
- And lastly, was the government employee’s speech a substantial factor in whatever penalty they received (this is without a doubt the case, as the governor’s office said so in Love’s termination)
Hopefully Love will take this up with some representation – because everyone should have the right to engage in public discourse without fear of government repercussions.
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