San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation into racist and offensive posts he published on social media last month. The County’s District Attorney, Michael Ramos, announced the decision in a press conference on July 9, explaining Selyem could face disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Selyem’s derogatory comments concern Mexican immigrants, a police shooting victim, Michelle Obama, and Rep. Maxine Waters. Of “Auntie Maxine,” Selyem wrote on Facebook: “Being a loud-mouthed c*nt in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this b*tch by now.”
“The San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office does not condone hate, discrimination, or incitement of violence,” Ramos said. “We must insist on an unbiased prosecutor.”
Water’s Democratic fans sprang to her defense. Out California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman on June 29 tweeted: “If people are going to threaten @MaxineWaters life for daring to #SpeakTruthToPower, they are going to have to come through a @CA_Dem Party gauntlet. We stand with her, in front of her, beside her and behind her. And I’m quite serious. #DontTreadOnMax.”
Out Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzales challenged Selyem’s ability to be fair and judicious in his position as the county’s lead prosecutor of gang activity, arguing that “having a racist tilt can put innocent lives in jeopardy.” Journalist Roland Martin tweeted, “This California gang prosecutor MUST be fired. The vile, violent and sexist attack by #MichaelSelyem on @RepMaxineWaters cannot be tolerated.”
Waters has received death threats since an event in June in Los Angeles where she encouraged the crowd to make Trump administration officials uncomfortable if they are spotted in public. That apparently prompted Selyem’s comment, as well as a tweet by President Trump in which he told Waters: “Be careful what you wish for.” Waters says the deluge of death threats that followed forced her to cancel two planned events in Alabama and Texas.
On July 3, Trump ramped up his attacks, tweeting, “Crazy Maxine Waters” is “said by some to be one of the most corrupt people in politics.” The President has repeatedly labeled the congresswoman a “low-IQ individual.” Addressing those and other attacks, Waters told Joy Reid on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” “Let Trump call me whatever he wants to call me. Let him say whatever he wants to say. He will not stop me. He cannot cause me to shut down.”