- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2016

A scathing Facebook post published less than 24 hours after a gunman opened fire inside an Orlando nightclub has cost Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis his job, officials said Thursday.

Mr. Lewis, a prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando, had initially been suspended after he described the city on social media as “a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs.”

“Downtown Orlando has no bottom,” he wrote on Facebook in the aftermath of the June 12 terror attack. “The entire city should be leveled. It is void of any redeeming quality…It is void of culture. If you live down there you do it at your own risk and at your own peril.”

“All Orlando nightclubs should be permanently closed. With or without random gunmen they are zoos; utter cesspools of debauchery,” he wrote.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 injured when Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando earlier that morning.

State Attorney Jeff Ashton on Thursday said Mr. Lewis will be terminated at the end of the month for having violated his office’s social media policy, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“As a prosecutor in this community, Mr. Lewis has the responsibility of maintaining the public’s trust through the ability, and perceived ability, to exercise sound, unbiased judgment,” Mr. Ashton wrote.

“Whether you intended to convey that all those who attend nightclubs are animals (the zoo reference) or whether the reference to ‘debauchery’ was meant to express some objection to the lifestyle choices of those who attended this club, we will never know. I cannot believe that a man of your intelligence would not realize that your comment could bear that interpretation.”

Mr. Lewis was previously disciplined over his online etiquette after he extended a “Happy Mother’s Day to all you crack hoes” in a Facebook post two years earlier.

“Based upon our extensive discussions in 2014, you, more than anyone, understand how seriously I take this issue,” Mr. Ashton wrote in Thursday’s termination letter, the paper reported. “I explained to you at the time that public trust in the criminal justice system can only be maintained when those empowered to execute the law are, and are perceived to be, free of bias in the execution of their duties.”

Mr. Ashton has responded by claiming his right to free speech has been violated, and he said his comments were all posted from his personal computer while he wasn’t working, the Sentinel reported.

“The post was a form of sensationalism and not directed to ridicule any individual or class of people and in no way infringes on the ability of the office ‘to carry out our important mission,’ ” Mr. Ashton said. “Liking or disliking the City of Orlando is irrelevant to a prosecutor’s function.”

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