ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A Florida prosecutor apologized Thursday for social media posts that included him referring to drug addicts as “crack hoes” and suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment was due to affirmative action.
Kenneth Lewis, an assistant state attorney for Orange and Osceola County, said that he “used a poor choice of words” and apologized to anyone who took offense to his Facebook comments earlier this month.
Lewis said he thought that his posts from May 11 and May 6 were only to his friends network on the social website, and not visible to the general public. He said he doesn’t believe his comments affect his ability to be an impartial prosecutor.
Lewis also touted his perfect record trying homicide cases as proof of his commitment to his job.
“I have always been 100 percent fair and I challenge any of you to talk to any attorneys that I’ve tried cases against, to talk to any of the judges I’ve appeared before, and to talk to any of the victims and the victims’ families that I’ve worked for in upholding justice,” he said. “My record speaks for itself.”
Lewis acknowledged writing a Facebook post on May 11 that said: “`Happy Mother’s Day to all the crack hoes out there. It’ never too late to turn it around, tie your tubes, clean up your life and make difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother.”
He also apologized for a May 6 post that accompanied a picture of Sotomayor, saying: “Reason enough why no country should ever engage in the practice of Affirmative Action again. This could be the result. Where would she be if she didn’t hit the quota lottery? Here’s a hint: `Would you like to supersize that sir?”’
Affirmative action is a practice aimed at improving employment opportunities for people of genders or races that have faced discrimination in the past.
Both posts remain active on Lewis’ Facebook page.
Lewis’ boss, Ninth Circuit State Attorney Jeff Ashton, said while he thinks Lewis’ choice of words was “offensive and dehumanizing,” he didn’t reprimand Lewis for his comments because his office did not have a social media policy banning them.
He also said that he doesn’t “police the private thoughts, views or expressions” of his employees.
“We’ve been researching for the last couple of months social media policies, and we really have some questions about the constitutionality of them, and there have been a number of court decisions that have questioned that,” Ashton said.
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, but it has to be clear those opinions are not the opinions of the state attorney’s office or myself.”
Ashton said there will be an examination of Lewis’ prosecution file by his supervisor “just to make sure absolutely nothing about Mr. Lewis’ work life has been affected by his personal views.”
Ashton said that no victims have complained to his office that they have been unfairly treated by Lewis because of their social status.