Prosecutor's Facebook comments draw scrutiny
Updated On: May 21 2014 07:27:26 PM EDT
An assistant state attorney who has prosecuted many high-profile murder cases in Orange County is being criticized for comments he reportedly posted on Facebook, including one offering support to embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Prosecutor Kenneth Lewis has not responded to Local 6's request for comment and has not verified he wrote the words posted on his Facebook page. However, the page itself appears to be authentic, with posts dating back several years and a list of friends that includes numerous Central Florida attorneys and fellow prosecutors.
A comment posted on May 11 reads, "Happy Mother's Day to all the crack hoes out there. It' never too late to turn it around, tie your tubes, clean up your life and make difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother."
Two weeks earlier, a photograph of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor was posted. A caption above the Puerto Rican woman states, "Reason enough why no country should ever engage in the practice of Affirmative Action again. This could be the result. Where would she be if she didn't hit the quota lottery? Here's a hint: "Would you like to supersize that sir?"
In response to a news article suggesting a lack of diversity in State Attorney Jeff Ashton's office, Lewis appears to take a swipe at former State Rep. Gary Siplin. Lewis prosecuted Siplin in 2006 for grand theft, but the conviction was later overturned by an appeals court.
Following another news article about a 19-year-old arrested for breaking into a home, Lewis's Facebook page reads, "They should have shot him in the head, anyone that invades another home in a violent manner should be executed on the spot."
Additional posts criticize Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Jacksonville State Attorney Angela Corey's handling of the George Zimmerman case, and the State of Florida, which is described as having a "constant flooding of the lowest common denominator from third world nations."
"I have been made aware of certain statements attributed to Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis on social media," said Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton. "I do not agree with the political sentiments expressed by him and I find some of the words he chose to be both offensive and dehumanizing."
Ashton's office does not have a policy governing social media use, according to a representative.
"Political speech is protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution and I do not police the private thoughts, views or expressions of those in my employ," said Ashton.
Posts on Lewis's Facebook page seem to convey his belief that people should be allowed to express themselves.
"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 Facebook profile photo to one of DONALD STERLING!!!" states a post on May 9. Sterling is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who has been bombarded with criticism for making racist comments in a secret audio recording.
Three days later, Lewis appeared to express support for Miami Dolphins defensive back Don Jones, who was suspended for his social media posts criticizing a gay player.
"REALLY, Do human beings no longer have a right to opinions? What kind of country is this becoming?" the prosecutor reportedly posted on Facebook.