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Maryland official fired for social media posts defending teen accused in Kenosha killings

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration on Saturday fired an employee for “divisive images and statements” made on social media, including posts that sympathized with the teenager charged with shooting demonstrators in Wisconsin.

Arthur “Mac” Love IV had been deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, which oversees the state’s ethnic and cultural commissions, community service programs and religious outreach. He’s been with the office since 2015, according to his online resume.

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Love did not respond to requests for comment sent via Facebook on Saturday.

Love has posted memes showing support for Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois who is charged with fatally shooting Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum during demonstrations in Kenosha. People had gathered in Kenosha to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

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Rittenhouse’s attorney has argued that his client acted in self-defense. Some of Love’s posts amplify that argument.

In one post, Love reposted pictures that appear to show Rittenhouse cleaning graffiti. The original poster wrote: “I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.” It goes on to denigrate the two men Rittenhouse is charged with killing.

Another meme shows a photo of people marching with the words, “Defund the police! We can police our own communities.” The next photo shows Rittenhouse carrying his gun with the words “policed his community.” A third photo shows a distressed person yelling.

Earlier this week, Love reposted a meme that mocks “liberals” for calling Rittenhouse a white supremacist.

Steve McAdams, executive director of the Governor’s Office on Community Initiatives, said in a statement Saturday afternoon: “These divisive images and statements are inconsistent with the mission and core values of the Office of Community Initiatives. Earlier today, I relieved this employee of his duties. Kevin Craft, administrative director of the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs, will assume these duties effective immediately.”

Shareese Churchill, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Saturday: “These posts are obviously totally inappropriate. We fully support the immediate actions taken by Director McAdams to address this matter.”

Love’s salary last year was $77,000, according to a state employee salary database obtained by The Baltimore Sun.

Love also posted several memes in a Facebook group called Inside Maryland Politics, where a thread on the Kenosha shootings drew dozens of comments.

One meme calls one of the Kenosha shooting victims a “deceased terrorist.”

“His pronouns are was/were,” it reads.

On Saturday morning, as Love’s posts circulated on social media, he posted a series of pictures of vandalized buildings in Raleigh, North Carolina, after protests there.

“More peaceful protesting from the liberal-left in America,” he wrote. “Wake Up.”

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He continued: “people on the left try to get you fired from your job for speaking truth. it’s better to be fired for being honest than the LIE.”

The posts drew attention from state lawmakers, who began calling Hogan to dismiss Love.

Del. Eric Luedtke, a Montgomery County Democrat who is the House of Delegates majority leader, posted a screenshot of Love sharing a picture of a police officer smiling and flashing two thumbs up, with the caption: “Dont Be A Thug If You Cant Take A Slug!”

Luedtke wrote on Twitter: “This is one of the FB posts by Governor Hogan’s Deputy Director of Community Initiatives. Who oversees — I’m not kidding — the Commission on African American History and Culture. Fire him, @GovLarryHogan, and issue the Exec Order on use of force you should’ve issued months ago.”

Del. Jheanelle Wilkins, another Montgomery County Democrat, wrote on Twitter that Hogan should “immediately terminate this employee.”

“This guy’s office oversees the Commission on African-American History and Culture. It goes without saying he is not fit to be a public servant in any capacity,” Del. Vaughn Stewart, another Montgomery Democrat, wrote on Twitter.

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