A top gang prosecutor in San Bernardino County, California, has sparked outrage after several of his offensive social media posts were uncovered. The posts, targeting Rep. Maxine Waters, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, liberals and immigrants, were reported to his bosses internally last month and shared with the media last week, The San Bernardino Sun reports.
Michael Selyem, 50, of Placentia, made posts that a critic called “hateful rhetoric” several times on Facebook and Instagram, The Sun reports. Selyem did not respond to requests for comment. He has since deleted his social media pages.
“The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office does not condone hate, discrimination or incitement of violence. Our community and the entire criminal justice system depends on having fair, ethical, and unbiased prosecutors,” District Attorney Michael Ramos said July 9 in a statement. Ramos said an internal investigation has been ongoing since the end of June. “Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem will be on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the formal investigation which could result in disciplinary action leading up to termination.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Selyem Called Rep. Maxine Waters a ‘Loud Mouthed C*nt’ & Wrote ‘You Would Think Someone Would Have Shot This B*tch by Now’
One of Michael Selyem’s Facebook posts was about Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat. Waters has been highly critical of President Donald Trump and his supporters, and has been targeted in attacks by Trump on Twitter and in campaign speeches. Selyem was responding to a post on the Facebook page ForAmerica about Waters calling for her supporters to confront members of the Trump administration in public.
“Being a loud mouthed c*nt in the ghetto you would think someone would of shot this b*tch by now,” Selyem wrote in a comment on the ForAmerica post, according to a screenshot obtained by The San Bernardino Sun.
On June 25, Selyem’s conduct on social media was reported to his superiors in an internal complaint, according to The Sun. An internal investigation is ongoing, sources told the newspaper. Chris Lee, a spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office, would not say whether the office has a social media policy, according to The Sun.
“It is disgusting that a public official sworn to protect the public would have these ugly viewpoints,” Zeke Hernandez, president of the Santa Ana League of United Latin American Citizens No. 147, told The Sun. “The district attorney needs to take any and all appropriate action to let the public know that it does not agree with Selyem’s hateful rhetoric.”
He added, “This has gone beyond a simple error in judgment. It is clearly outside the boundaries of civil service norms. Law enforcement personnel and officers of the court system should not incite violence.”
2. He Is a Trump Supporter & Wrote in a Post That It Would Be a ‘Long 8 Years for You Scumbags,’ Referring to Liberals & Added ‘Choo Choo Trump’
Michael Selyem is an “ardent Trump supporter,” according to The San Bernardino Sun. The newspaper reports he wrote in one Facebook post, “I love that all of you liberal f*cking p*sseys are so filled with hate. Gonna be a long 8 years for you scumbags. choo choo trump.”
Selyem also posted an Instagram meme about Hillary Clinton, showing a photo of her with a fake quote saying, “Listen, it’s simple. We’ve got to ban guns to save the toddlers. And we’ve got to have late term abortions to kill the babies.” Selyem added a comment saying, “she’s all about the children.”
According to The Sun, Selyem also posted a doctored photo of Michelle Obama holding a sign saying, “Trump grabbed my penis.”
Many of the defendants Selyem prosecutes are Latino, and in one post, Selyem wrote next to a photo of a man in a giant sombrero, “Mexican word of the day: Hide.” The Sun reports.
He also got into an argument with someone on Facebook about a police shooting, writing, “That sh*tbag got exactly what he deserved. … You reap what you sow. And by the way go f*ck yourself you liberal sh*tbag.”
The Sun reports that it was not clear from the deleted post shared with the newspaper what case Selyem was talking about and whether it was one that his office has jurisdiction over.
3. Selyem, a 2004 UCLA Law School Grad, Has Worked as the Lead Attorney for the Central Hardcore Gang Unit in San Bernardino County Since 2006
Michael Selyem is the lead attorney for the Central Hardcore Gang Unit at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office, according to his Linkedin profile. He has held that position since August 2006.
Selyem, of Placentia, California, graduated from the UCLA School of Law in 2004. He completed his undergraduate studies at Cal State Fullerton, according to the State Bar of California website. He was admitted to the California bar in 2006. He has no record of discipline or administrative actions, according to the bar website.
Outside of the office, Selyem trains in jiu-jitsu at the Graceie Barra Martial Arts School, according to its website. He wrote a testimonial for the school:
Despite the obvious physical benefits gained from training BJJ, the mental benefits are probably the most important to me. My father preached to me when I was younger that if you quit at something then you failed to learn and that success doesn’t come overnight. In BJJ, to truly learn a technique it must be drilled over and over and then must be applied correctly. This can sometimes take months or years to develop and in order to perfect it you must attempt the technique time and again failing far more often before you finally succeed. Of course it is not easy when you are attempting to learn a passing technique or a submission and not being able to pull it off. But coming back the next day to do it again is the mental part of the game that BJJ ultimately preaches. The mental strength you gain throughout your training process will shine through in every other area in your life. That is all part of the mental learning process that keeps me coming back to class each week. Anything that is worth having in life is worth working hard to achieve. BJJ is no different.
Selyem added, “When I come to train I feel like I am among family and everything I learn stays with me in my personal life. At work, at home, on the mat and with friends and family there is no secret to being successful. Hard work, respect for others and consistency is how to be successful. Gracie Barra Yorba Linda simply reinforces what we all already know to be true.”
4. Many Have Called for Him to Be Fired or Disciplined, but One Local Defense Attorney Told the Sun He’s Never Seen Selyem’s Views Influence His Professional Responsibilities
Selyem has faced calls for his firing on social media, with many using the hashtag #FireSelyem and directing comments toward the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office expressing their outrage about Selyem’s posts.
Brian Levin, who is a professor who teaches criminal and hate crime law at Cal State Bernardino, told The Sun, the district attorney must take the posts, “incredibly seriously and address it forthwith,” adding, “Such declarations are deplorable, reprehensible, disgusting and bigoted and have no place in the public domain of a trusted public official.”
The deleted social media postings were sent to Pedro Cala, a Los Angeles accountant, who forwarded them to The Sun. ““He literally holds the lives of citizens in his hands, and it’s just not right. I am disgusted by his spouting of racist, xenophobic and sexist posts. A person that harbors these types of views, and feels such courage to espouse them with impunity, does not belong in the District Attorney’s office administering prejudiced and jaundiced jurisprudence,” Cala told the newspaper. “I fail to see how this man can be impartial in his solemn task of helping to seek truth and justice.”
One local defense attorney, Stephen Levine, did come to Selyem’s defense, telling The Sun, “I of course oppose Mr. Selyem in court on a regular basis. I also was friends on Facebook and Instagram. I do not defend the tenor of his posts but defend his right to his beliefs. I have seen no evidence that his personal beliefs have influenced his professional responsibilities and prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
5. Selyem Is Married to a Former Canadian Mountie & Is Originally From New Jersey
Michael Selyem has been married since 2009 to a woman who is originally from Canada and was once a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, according to her social media profiles. She is a former EMT in California and now works as a nurse. Selyem also has a son from a previous relationship, according to his Facebook page.
Selyem is originally from New Jersey and also previously lived in Maryland, public records show.
Selyem’s posts also attacked immigrants, according to The Sun. He commented on a Breitbart News story, “I am all for white males immigrating here legally and starting a business. It is the terrorist a–holes sneaking in here wanting to kill me an (sic) my family that I am opposed to. I cannot believe how shallow democrats are. They must really think people are stupid. I guess that is evident because they actually thought Hilary (sic) Clinton could win a presidential election… TWICE!!! LMFAO!!”