On Thursday, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson called for the disbarment of a prosecutor in the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office who wrote offensive social media comments.
The San Bernardino Sun first reported that the office’s lead gang prosecutor, Michael Selyem, was under investigation for rants targeting Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), former First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexican immigrants and the victim of a police shooting.
“This man must be disbarred,” the Rev. Jackson said during a press briefing Thursday. “He’s been in this job for 12 years — every case he’s had should now be under review.”
In addition to his call for disbarment, Jackson said that activists have also contacted the American Bar Assn. and the FBI, among others.
“To have a guy like this in power with a law degree and the power to target and arrest and detain people — he should be stripped of that authority,” Jackson said. “Everyone he’s touched, he’s tainted.”
San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Michael Ramos announced Monday that Selyem had been placed on administrative leave.
The Sun reports that Selyem, who joined the office 12 years ago, wrote of Waters: “Being a loud-mouthed c#nt in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this bitch by now …”
The Sun also reported that Selyem got into an online argument over the police shooting of a civilian, writing: “That s—bag got exactly what he deserved. … You reap what you sow. And by the way go f— yourself you liberal s—bag.”
The district attorney’s office received information on June 28 regarding negative comments posted online by Selyem, according to Ramos. The district attorney said there were “more than several” complaints. Staff and managers spoke and then contacted human resources and “took immediate steps to start a personnel investigation.”
“This could end up being some form of disciplinary action, up to termination,” Ramos said on Monday. “We haven’t decided that yet. We’re following the rules and regulations of California.”