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Very Real

Deputy DA Place On Leave After Allegedly Posting Vitriolic Comments About Rep. Maxine Waters

A statement from the District Attorney’s office on Monday said Michael Selyem will be on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

By Samira Sadeque

A senior gang prosecutor in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly posting vitriolic comments about Rep. Maxine Waters and former First Lady Michelle Obama on social media.

Michael Selyem, the deputy district attorney in San Bernardino County, Calif., has been accused of calling Waters “a loud-mouthed c--t in the ghetto" and saying "you would think someone would have shot this b---h by now,” according to The San Bernardino Sun

A user with the name Michael Selyem posted the inflammatory message as a comment on a June 24 Facebook post by a page ForAmerica. A screenshot posted by The San Bernardino Sun shows this comment was posted within the first two hours of the post.

Screenshots of Selyem’s alleged comments on various platforms such as Facebook and Instagram also include posts about former First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexican immigrants, and victims of police shooting.

In an online argument about a police shooting, Selyem allegedly said the victim “got what he deserved,” according to The Orange County Register. A screenshot of this conversation was not available, and it is unclear where this comment was made.

“You reap what you sow. And by the way go f— yourself you liberal s—bag,” the user wrote, who also allegedly shared a doctored image of former First Lady Michelle Obama with the sign “Trump grabbed my penis,” seemingly a reference to President Donald Trump who was famously caught on audio bragging about grabbing women "by the p--sy."

The user also posted a photo of a man in a sombrero with the caption “Mexican word of the day: Hide,” The San Bernardino Sun reported.

The dates of these posts are unclear from the media reports. Selyem’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have since become unavailable.

The gangs Selyem prosecutes are predominantly Latino, the San Bernardino Sun reports, and this has led to concerns among many about the presence of bias in his cases, sparking off demands for his resignation.

“I fail to see how this man can be impartial in his solemn task of helping to seek truth and justice,” Pedro Cala, a Los Angeles accountant who initially received the screenshots and sent them to public officials, told The San Bernardino Sun.

San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos' office said in a statement on Monday to Oxygen.com that they took immediate steps for an investigation upon learning about these claims, and that Selyem has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

 “The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office does not condone hate, discrimination or incitement of violence,” the statement said. “Our community and the entire criminal justice system depends on having fair, ethical, and unbiased prosecutors.”

Writer and activist Shaun King wrote on Twitter that Selyem must be arrested.

“He should be arrested. Death threats against congresspeople are a federal crime,” he tweeted. 
Following the announcement that Selyem was on administrative leave, King wrote on Twitter again, "This isn't enough, but it's a start. It matters."

Despite the allegations, a San Bernardino attorney Stephen Levine told the San Bernardino Sun that Selyem is a “very disciplined and ethical member of the District Attorney’s Office,” and defended him on the grounds that he has a right to his beliefs. 

[Photo: Maxine Waters speaks at a rally against border family separation on June 30 in Los Angeles, California. By Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]