Anti-Palestinian Facebook Comments Leads to Firing of Public Defenders | NBC 6 South Florida

Anti-Palestinian Facebook Comments Leads to Firing of Public Defenders

Fired Lawyer Responds: Boss "Wiped His *** With the First Amendment to the Constitution"

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    Two Broward County public defenders have been fired after they allegedly posted anti-Palestinian comments on Facebook. NBC 6's Dan Krauth has what one of those lawyers has to say about this. (Published Tuesday, July 8, 2014)

    A pair of Broward County public defenders have been fired after they were accused of making anti-Palestinian comments on Facebook last week. But one of those lawyers is not going down without making it known how he feels about what has happened.

    “There will be no attacks on any group of people,” said public defender Howard Finkelstein.

    The firings come after someone posted an article claiming Palestinians were celebrating the murders of three young Israelis, public defender Gary Sheres allegedly posted, "They are the filthy swine they don't eat. Their ignorance to the world bewilders the dumbest people I have ever met."

    Someone using 25-year-veteran Bruce Raticoff's account responded stating, "That’s why the Palestinian people are considered the cockroaches of the world...burn them to the ground."

    Last week, Raticoff’s boss, Finkelstein, said he was shocked by the postings, calling them, “unacceptable.” Tuesday, Raticoff had choice words for his now former boss.

    “He wiped his *** with the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Raticoff told NBC 6 Tuesday.

    Raticoff said someone he knows used his computer and his Facebook account to make the posting. Raticoff said he can’t identify the person that posted it because they are undergoing a background investigation for a job.

    Finkelstein said he wanted a signed affidavit from the person who posted the message, but when it was turned in; it didn’t have the person’s name on it. Without the signed document, Raticoff was told that he no longer has a job.

    “You can’t engage in hate-filled speech that interferes with the mission of this office,” Finkelstein said.

    "Howard Finkelstein is not the moral police," Raticoff said. "He is the public defender of Broward County. He's taken a lawyer with over 34 years experience, 40 murder trials, over 350 jury trials, who has 12 murder clients, and fired them so he can serve me up for lunch to his new Arab friends."

    The director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) didn’t push for the firings, but did want accountability.

    “It’s his job to make sure everyone in his office is defending everyone equally,” CAIR said. “And somebody with that kind of hate inside can’t possibly treat people equally.”

    Raticoff and Sheres have been given until the end of the week to clean out their desks and hand off their cases.

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