Assistant State Attorney fired over Pulse Facebook posts

By : Anna M. Johnson
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Kenneth Lewis, the Florida Assistant State Attorney who was suspended on June 17 following inflammatory Facebook posts is fired.

That’s according to an email sent by Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s office spokeswoman Angela Starke on June 23.

Lewis posted two offensive Facebook statuses the morning of June 12, following the Pulse shooting. They’re cited in his official letter of termination authored by Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeffery L. Ashton. Read the full letter here — it’s pretty great.

 

A Facebook post made hours after the Pulse shooting by Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis has resulted in his suspension.

A Facebook post made hours after the Pulse shooting by Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis has resulted in his termination.

Lewis’ first post on June 12 refers to Downtown Orlando by saying “the entire city should be leveled.” Lewis’ post went on to describe the area as “…void of a single redeeming quality. It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs. It is void of culture.”

Ashton refers to this first post by saying “Your Facebook rant, taken as a whole, could be perceived by some as suggesting an act of domestic terrorism.”

Ashton also states about Lewis’ second Facebook status, posted two hours after the first:

FL Kenneth Lewis 2

About two hours after Lewis’ original post, he continues to criticize the downtown Orlando area.

“In the days following the massacre of 49 of our fellow citizens, it was brought to my attention that you had posted the following comment approximately six hours after the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub, which the media described as a club serving the LGBTQ community: “All night clubs should be permanently closed. With or without random gunmen they are zoos,; utter cesspools of debauchery.” Whether you intended to convey that all those who attend nightclubs are animals (the zoo reference) or whether the reference to “debauchery” was meant to express some objection to the lifestyle choices of those who attended this club, we will never know. I cannot believe that a man of your intelligence would not realize that your comment could bear that interpretation.”

Lewis posted the following on Twitter on June 23:

Lewis’ termination is based on his violation of an office-wide Social Media Policy drafted last year. The policy was created because of a post Lewis himself had shared on Facebook on Mother’s Day of 2014, referring to women as “crack hoes” and telling mothers to “Tie [their] tubes. Clean up your life and make a difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother.”

An excerpt of the Social Media Policy is specifically referenced by Ashton as being relevant to Lewis’ prior and recent posts:
“It is critically important that SAO-9 employees act, and are perceived to act, in a fair, just, impartial and unbiased manner. Online comments by SAO-9 employees exhibiting animus (strong feelings of dislike or hatred) or ridicule of any individual, class or group of people hurt our ability to carry out our important mission and will not be tolerated.”

The Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s office put the policy into effect in February of 2015 and temporarily re-assigned Lewis. He received mandatory sensitivity training.

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