A Florida assistant state’s attorney has been suspended for violating his office’s social media policy after a rant about Orlando that came after the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Kenneth Lewis, 49, who works in Orange County, where Orlando is located, made the post Sunday morning on his Facebook page, just hours after 49 people were killed and 53 others were wounded at the gay nightclub. A lone gunman, Omar Mateen, attacked the club and was shot dead by police.
“Downtown Orlando has no bottom. The entire city should be leveled,” Lewis wrote in the now-deleted post, according to WESH-TV. “It is void of a single redeeming quality. It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs. It is void of culture. If you live down there you do it at your own risk and at your own peril.”
Lewis, of Maitland, Florida, has not commented about his suspension, which was first reported on June 17.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Said ‘With or Without Random Gunmen’ Nightclubs in Orlando are ‘Zoos’ & ‘Utter Cesspools of Debauchery’
Assistant State’s Attorney Kenneth Lewis was suspended for two posts made on his social media accounts, according to the Orlando Sentinel. You can see a screenshot of the first, now-deleted, post above and read the text of it below:
Downtown Orlando has no bottom. The entire city should be leveled. It is void of a single redeeming quality. It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs. It is void of culture. If you live down there you do it at your own risk and at your own peril. If you go down there after dark there is seriously something wrong with you. Disney does everything in its power to shield visitors of Disney from its northern blight. That doesn’t change reality. Disney may be the happiest place on earth but Orlando is a national embarassment. If this is an act of domestic terrorist it is so important that we don’t publish the religion, name, or motive of the terrorist as not to offend anyone.
The Sentinel said the second post, which also appears to have been deleted, read, “All Orlando nightclubs should be permanently closed. With or without random gunmen they are zoos,; utter cesspools of debauchery.”
The Pulse nightclub shooting occurred about 2 a.m., and Lewis’ Facebook post was made after news of the shooting was already on national networks and around the same time as other Orange County officials were briefing the media on the deadly attack.
2. He Was Previously Suspended for Wishing ‘Happy Mother’s Day to All the Crack Hoes Out There’ in a Facebook Post
Kenneth Lewis has a history of incidents involving social media posts. He was temporarily reassigned in 2014 for an offensive Mother’s Day Facebook post.
“Happy Mother’s Day to all the crack hoes out there,” Lewis wrote. “It’s never too late to turn it around. Tie your tubes. Clean up your life and make a difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother.”
Lewis apologized, but said the comments had been misinterpreted by the media.
“I believe if the media truly cared about the people they accuse me of offending that they would do stories about people on crack,” Lewis told reporters in 2014. “I use hyperbole, sensationalism to get reaction from people to start discussing.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a review of previous cases was conducted after that incident and investigators found he had not shown any bias.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton said at the time that Lewis would not be reprimanded for the post.
“I’ve never had a victim come to us and say this man is not treating us with respect … I am not going to punish someone for what is clearly political speech,” Ashton told the Sentinel.
3. Officials Say He Violated the Social Media Policy Put in Place Because of His First Facebook Incident & Could Be Fired
Kenneth Lewis was suspended for violating the social media policy the state’s attorney’s office put in place after his previous Facebook incident.
“Mr. Lewis violated the SAO9 social media policy,” Angela Starke, a spokeswoman for the office, told ABC News. “The social media policy was adopted and implemented on February 20, 2015, as part of SAO9’s code of conduct. Every employee is required to sign the policy. Failure to comply can result in discipline up to and including termination.”
It is not clear if Lewis, who earns $102,528 a year, will be paid during his suspension. It is also not known how long the investigation into his post will take.
4. He Also Tweeted a ‘Vote for Hillary is a Vote for Enabling Acts that Occurs in Orlando’
Ken Lewis also made several tweets about the shooting, including criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying a “vote for Hillary is a vote for enabling acts that occurs (sic) in Orlando.” You can see some of his tweets below:
He has been critical of downtown Orlando and Disney World in his tweets in the past, including when singer Christina Grimmie was fatally shot outside an Orlando concert just a day before the Pulse shooting.
In a June 9 tweet he said, “Has anyone who has been to Disney actually been to downtown Orlando? It’s a giant toilet.”
He also commented after a child was killed by an alligator at Disney World, writing, “The curse of the most ‘miserable place on earth’ strikes again.”
5. Lewis Once Called for Burglars to be ‘Executed on the Spot’ & Has Spoken Against Political Correctness
Lewis calls himself a “murder prosecutor-free speech” on his Twitter account, @ProsecutorsLife, and has made several references to being a defender of free speech. He has also spoken out against political correctness in Facebook and Twitter posts.
According to WFTV, Lewis has made other controversial Facebook posts. In one post, he said anyone who “invades another home in a violent matter should be executed on the spot.”
He also called Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor an affirmative action hire, saying, “Where would she be if she didn’t hit the quota lottery? Here’s a hint: ‘Would you like to supersize that sir?'”
Lewis also stuck up for disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who came under fire for making racist statements.
“Join me in supporting free speech and the right to have your own private opinions kept that way (regardless if you agree with them). Join me in changing your profile photo to one of DONALD STERLING!!!!,” he wrote.