Rev. Jesse Jackson calls for disbarment of San Bernardino County prosecutor amid social media scandal

ByRob McMillan and staff KABC logo
Friday, July 13, 2018
Group calls for firing of IE prosecutor amid social media scandal
Civil rights leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., on Thursday urged officials in San Bernardino to fire a senior prosecutor at the center of an explosive social media scandal.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Civil rights leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., on Thursday urged officials in San Bernardino to fire a senior prosecutor at the center of an explosive social media scandal.

"Michael Selyem must not be suspended, he must be disbarred. Every case he's had must be under review," Jackson, alongside a group of ministers, told members of the press during the 11 a.m. press conference at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in San Bernardino.

Deputy district attorney Michael Selyem is accused of publishing several offensive posts on social media accounts that have now been deleted, including one about Rep. Maxine Waters.

In one Facebook comment, Selyem wrote about Waters, calling her a "loud mouthed c--- in the ghetto," then saying, "you would think someone would have shot this b---- by now."

Screenshots courtesy of the San Bernardino Sun.

In another instance, Selyem argued with someone about police shooting a civilian, saying "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. It was also unclear if the incident was an open case in San Bernardino County or if it happened elsewhere.

"To have a guy like this in power with a law degree, and the power to target, detain and arrest people -- he should be stripped of that authority. Everybody he's touched, he's tainted. That's why he should be disbarred and never have this job again," Jackson said.

Selyem has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of a formal investigation, which could result in disciplinary action up to termination, said San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos at a Monday press conference.

"On June 28, 2018 we received information regarding negative comments posted online by one of our prosecutors. At that time, we took immediate steps to initiate a personnel investigation," Ramos said. " The San Bernardino County D.A.'s office does not condone hate, discrimination or incitement of violence."

San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos speaks at a news conference on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Raw video)

Later in the afternoon, Jackson took his concerns to the district attorney's office personally.

RELATED: Petition to fire San Bernardino County prosecutor has nearly 10,000 signatures

"We made our case to an official of the office, but we're going to have another meeting with them next week," he said.

At the press conference, Jackson added that across the nation, not just in this case, there is "too much violence, ignorance, hatred and fear."

"I've come 2,000 miles to be with you today. It's not just this issue...The best of America is now on trial...," he said.

A list of demands was also read by the San Bernardino branch of the NAACP on Thursday, including a call for the "immediate termination" of Selyem, "not a resignation, no 'vacation with pay.'"

They also called for the immediate review of every case Selyem has handled in the 12 years he's served as a prosecutor.

"We also call for an injunction on all gang enhancements because we cannot trust the integrity of the department with this guy as the lead," a member said.

The list of demands also included that every prosecutor in the department participate in implicit bias training.

Eyewitness News has reached out to Selyem for comment but has not received a response.