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Florida Official Kenneth Lewis Suspended Over Anti-Orlando Facebook Post

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 
The downtown skyline after a rainstorm in the early evening in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 2, 2013.Phelan M. Ebenhack / AP, file

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A Florida assistant state attorney was suspended Friday for posting an offensive Facebook rant about Orlando in the hours after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in the city.

"Downtown Orlando has no bottom. The entire city should be leveled," wrote Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis last Sunday morning, as the news was beginning to spread that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured at the Pulse nightclub.

"It is a melting pot of 3rd world miscreants and ghetto thugs. It is void of culture," Lewis said in the post, which has since been deleted, but was captured by NBC affiliate WESH.

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"If you live down there you do it at your own risk and at your own peril. If you go down there after dark there is seriously something wrong with you," added Lewis, who serves the Ninth Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit's office spokeswoman Angela Starke told NBC News that Lewis was suspended because he violated the office's social media policy. Lewis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

The social media rules were added to the Ninth Judicial Circuit’s code of conduct in 2015, and every employee is required to sign it, Starke said in a statement.

 Florida Assistant State Attorney Kenneth Lewis was suspended Friday for violating the State Attorney's Office's social media policy. WESH

The policy, at least in part, was put into place because of Lewis' comments on Facebook in 2014.

Lewis was temporarily reassigned and forced to undergo sensitivity training after that Mother's Day post that read: "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."

The "crack hoes" remark followed a post featuring a picture of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor that said: "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?'"

Lewis apologized for both posts, saying he thought they would only be visible to his Facebook friends, according to The Associated Press.

At the time, the Ninth Circuit's chief assistant and executive director, Richard Wallsh, said officials were "focusing in on corrective action in regards to Mr. Lewis," WESH reported.

But, Wallsh added, “at some point, we probably have to look at office-wide social media policies.”

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