Feb. 23, 2011 at 4:33 PM ET
Following a tweet suggesting riot police "use live ammunition" against demonstrators outside Wisconsin's capitol building on Saturday night, Jeff Cox is no longer employed as a deputy attorney general with Indiana Attorney General’s Office.
The official statement released today from the agency follows a report from "Mother Jones" detailing Cox's response to a tweet from the political magazine regarding riot police possibly being brought in to deal with demonstrators on Saturday (they weren't).
Taking issue with this response, "Mother Jones" staffer Adam Weinstein called out JCCentCom from his own Twitter account:
I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."
Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.
According to Weinstein, "Mother Jones" sent an e-mail to Cox's work address to confirm that Cox was the author of the tweets, as well as the blogger behind "Pro Cynic" (now disabled), where he "evinces contempt for political opponents," and asked if Cox wished to provide context.
Cox, one of 144 attorneys in the A.G.'s office, responded from a personal e-mail address: "For 'context?' Or to silence me? All my comments on twitter & my blog are my own and no one else's. And I can defend them all."
Screen captures to Cox's defunct blog reveal contempt for political opponents, Weinstein wrote:
... from labeling President Obama an 'incompetent and treasonous' enemy of the nation to comparing 'enviro-Nazis' to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi 'brownshirts' on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as 'a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up' by local police. A 'sensible policy for handling Afghanistan,' he offered, could be summed up as: 'KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!'
Earlier today, People for the American Way called for Cox's resignation. Cox's "call for violence" is "beyond the pale," the national progressive advocacy organization said in a statement, adding that he "should step down immediately."
Following the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords last month, an attack that left six people dead and a dozen others wounded, and the current deadly protests in Libya, it's unsettling that someone in the public sector would call for violence. It's worth noting that tweets and other Internet comments expressing anger over Cox's remarks come from people who identify themselves as conservative, liberal and all points in between.
Responding to msnbc.com's inquiry regarding the the "Mother Jones" piece, Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Indiana Attorney General's office, stated, "An immediate review of this personnel matter is now under way to determine whether the assertions made in the 'Mother Jones' article about an employee are accurate. When that review is complete, appropriate personnel action will be taken."
A few hours later, Corbin followed up with this statement:
Today the Indiana Attorney General’s Office announced that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Cox is no longer employed by this agency.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office conducted a thorough and expeditious review after “Mother Jones” magazine today published an article attributing private Twitter postings and private blog postings to Cox.
Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.