Advertisement
California

NAACP calls for probe into San Diego County housing specialist, department over racist social media posts

483579_sd_me_board_supervisors_HL_
(Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The NAACP says a San Diego County Section 8 housing worker made about a dozen posts about blacks, Latinos, Muslims

The San Diego branch of the NAACP asked the San Diego County supervisors on Tuesday to investigate a county employee who is responsible for helping low-income families acquire Section 8 housing, after uncovering more than a dozen racist and Islamophobic posts it alleges were made by the employee on social media.

The civil rights group highlighted a series of Facebook posts made between 2016 and 2020 attributed to Dwight Flesher, a housing specialist with San Diego County’s Housing and Community Development Services Department. In the posts, Flesher appears to attack or insult blacks, Latinos, immigrants, Muslims and people who seek government assistance.

For example, one Facebook post included an image of former First Lady Michelle Obama with the caption “fluent in ghetto.”

On the same page was an altered image of Sen. Kamala Harris photo-shopped as a prostitute, and a photo of a truck with a bumper sticker stating, “Can’t feed ‘em Don’t breed ‘em. The government is not your baby’s daddy.”

Advertisement

He also shared a post calling for April to be celebrated as Confederate History Month and imploring others to “Stand up for your heritage.”

Flesher declined to comment and hung up on a reporter when reached by phone Tuesday afternoon.

NAACP members presented the images in a PowerPoint presentation to the supervisors.

“The NAACP demands that you investigate the hiring practice that allowed a racist like Dwight to get into the county, in a position over people of color,” said Francine Maxwell, acting president of the NAACP San Diego branch. “We demand that you reevaluate all of his Section 8 cases to see if they have been entitled to the assistance they were due.”

Advertisement

The civil rights organization also requested a broader investigation be conducted into the culture of the county’s Housing and Community Development Services department as whole, citing concerns that Flesher’s behavior may not be an isolated incident.

One of the NAACP speakers said Flesher’s supervisor had been alerted to the posts before the group went public.

In an interview after the meeting, Maxwell said the NAACP has been approached by other people who have expressed an interest in filling out complaint forms related to their experience with the county’s Housing and Community Development Services department.

She added the group is concerned Flesher’s behavior may be consistent with the department when it comes to handling Section 8 cases of African Americans and Latinos, and she invited any residents who have had similarly troubling experiences with the department to reach out.

“The county needs to take steps to protect the vulnerable people.... We want you to not only look at this extremist, but all the rest of the extremists that may be employed with our tax dollars in the county service area,” Maxwell told the board.

Supervisors did not comment on the request and did not take action Tuesday because the issue was raised during the public comment portion of the meeting, where the board hears public testimony not related to items on the meeting agenda.

County spokesman Michael Workman said the county is not waiting for a formal complaint to look into the matter.

“Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer has asked the Office of Ethics and Compliance to begin a thorough investigation into the matter immediately,” Workman said in an email. “That includes what we knew and when we knew it.”

Advertisement

Clark writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


Newsletter
The stories shaping California

Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Advertisement