Facebook Post Over Palestinians Puts Public Defenders in Hot Water

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Two Broward County public defenders are in hot water after comments attributed to them appeared on Facebook. NBC 6's Dan Krauth has the details. (Published Thursday, Jul 3, 2014)

    Two long time Broward County Public Defenders are in trouble after being accused of making anti-Palestinian comments on Facebook this week.

    "The Arab community in South Florida is outraged," said Nezar Hamze, Regional Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "My phone has been ringing off the hook.”

    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."

    Public defender Howard Finkelstein said he was shocked by the responses.

    "It is as unacceptable as anything could possibly be," said Finkelstein. "I'm still trying to wrap my arms around it.”

    Finkelstein said Sheres claimed he was only referring to those individuals who killed the students. And Raticoff told Finkelstein someone else used his account. The public defender now wants a signed affidavit from that person.

    "If you're a lawyer or a public defender you're held to a higher standard," said Finkelstein.

    Hamze said he had asked the State Attorney’s Office to investigate what happened.

    The public defenders’ office is holding a meeting with the entire office about what happened on Tuesday. Discipline could range from suspension to termination.

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