Broward Public Defenders Terminated Over Facebook Comments About Palestinians

Jul 9, 2014

Credit Tinou Bao / Creative Commons//Flickr

Degrading Facebook comments about Palestinians caused two assistant Broward County public defenders to be fired on Tuesday.

The Facebook comments were published in a story by the Sun Sentinel, which discussed the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys by Islamic militant group Hamas. The remarks from assistant public defenders Gary Sheres and Bruce Raticoff referred to Palestinians as "filthy swine," "cockroaches," and even suggested they be "burn[ed] to the ground."

Sheres says he was talking about Palestinians who "celebrate murder." Meanwhile, defender Bruce Raticoff says someone else posted the derogatory comments from his Facebook account.

This isn't the first time Facebook has been used as a vessel for hate speech. In April of 2012, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue captain Brian Beckmann was demoted for writing racial slurs about the Trayvon Martin controversy on his Facebook page.

Public Defender Howard Finklestein, who fired Sheres and Raticoff, apologized to the Arab, Palestinian and Muslim community for the comments on Tuesday.

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