Michael Selyem, the lead hard-core gang prosecutor in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, is under internal investigation for a series of offensive posts on social media accounts that have now been deleted. (Staff photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/The Sun/SCNG)
By Teri Sforza | firstname.lastname@example.org and Joe Nelson | email@example.com | Orange County Register
Published: July 6, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Updated: July 6, 2018 at 6:04 pm
The lead hard-core gang prosecutor in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is under investigation for a series of offensive rants on social media, triggering demands for his dismissal.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem, who joined the D.A.’s Office 12 years ago, targeted outspoken U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, former first lady Michelle Obama, Mexican immigrants and the victim of a police shooting in Facebook and Instagram posts labeled by one critic as “hateful rhetoric.”
Of Waters, Selyem said: “Being a loud-mouthed c#nt in the ghetto you would think someone would have shot this bitch by now …”
In an online argument with someone over the police shooting of a civilian, Selyem wrote, “That s—bag got exactly what he deserved. … You reap what you sow. And by the way go f— yourself you liberal s—bag.”
It was unclear which police shooting Selyem was referencing, and whether or not it was an open case in San Bernardino County or had occurred elsewhere.
Selyem also posted a doctored picture of Michelle Obama holding a sign saying, “Trump grabbed my penis.”
Selyem, a 50-year-old resident of Placentia, is the lead attorney in a unit tasked with cracking down on criminal gang activity that surged as members moved inland from Los Angeles County in search of more affordable housing. Many of those gangs are predominantly Latino. One of Selyem’s posts showed a man in a giant sombrero with the words, “Mexican word of the day: Hide.”
Internal complaint made June 25
The District Attorney’s Office has been aware of the posts since June 25, when someone in the office complained. Since then, Selyem has been the subject of an internal investigation, sources said.
Selyem hung up on a reporter when reached by phone. He did not return calls and emails seeking comment on the posts that appeared under his name. Both his Facebook and Instagram accounts have been deleted.
In a statement Friday, outgoing District Attorney Mike Ramos said: “We have been made aware of the negative comments and they do not represent the views of the District Attorney’s Office. Since this is a personnel matter I cannot comment any further.”
District attorney’s spokesman Chris Lee would not say whether the office has an official policy on social media postings, or, if not, whether it is now considering implementing such a policy.
Some already have called for Selyem’s termination, saying the posts were not only offensive, unprofessional and beneath the dignity of a public prosecutor, but that anyone who publicly espouses such sentiments cannot impartially administer justice.
“It is disgusting that a public official sworn to protect the public would have these ugly viewpoints,” said Zeke Hernandez, president of the Santa Ana League of United Latin American Citizens No. 147. “The district attorney needs to take any and all appropriate action to let the public know that it does not agree with Selyem’s hateful rhetoric.”
That includes Selyem’s dismissal, Hernandez said.
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