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Orange County deputy suspended after Facebook post about Muslims ‘taking over America’: CAIR-Florida's Taj Murphy reported the case

By GRACE TOOHEY, For Orlando Sentinel, On 02 March 2021, Read Original
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An Orange County deputy sheriff was suspended for almost a month after he posted an anti-Muslim rant on Facebook, in one of several posts that prompted a Muslim civil rights group to ask the Sheriff’s Office to investigate.

Master Deputy Michael Johnson was suspended without pay for 150 hours after the Sheriff’s Office found he showed “unbecoming conduct” as well as “bias and disrespect” toward Muslims, according to a report from the internal investigation recently obtained by the Orlando Sentinel in a records request.

The February 2020 post on Johnson’s personal Facebook page said that “Muslims are taking over America,” calling them the “most intolerant people when it comes to other religions.”

“WAKE Up America, ... the Democrats only care about a vote, but with this radicalized people take [sic] over the United States you will know why because we stood there and did nothing to stop this!!! Donald J Trump for president for another 4 years!!” Johnson wrote in the post.

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The investigation into Johnson began because a civil rights attorney at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported Johnson’s Facebook activity to OCSO last spring, sending the agency 10 screenshots of the deputy’s posts.

The attorney, Taj Murphy, in his complaint said CAIR wasn’t out to censor the deputy’s free speech, but found it “concerning that Master Deputy Johnson has made hateful, racist, and anti-Muslim statements under the color of authority of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.”

“Master Deputy Johnson’s allegations of the radicalization of the Muslim community that he polices stirs resentment in the community, erodes the public trust in its policing agencies and poses a threat to the safety of law-abiding Muslim community members,” Murphy wrote.

The Sheriff’s Office found only three of the posts flagged by CAIR, including the one that led to his suspension, “needed further investigation,” the report said.

The two other posts with “questionable content” involved Johnson’s comments about undocumented immigrants arrested in Wisconsin, who he called “illegals,” and his response in a comment thread about high-profile sex abuse cases, in which Johnson argued that women sometimes lie about sexual assault. Internal investigators determined those posts mainly “contained political statements or support of political viewpoints.”

According to Murphy and CAIR, one of the posts submitted with the complaint that OCSO investigators opted not to probe included a video quoting the founder of an anti-Muslim hate group.

 

READ FULL STORY: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-prem-ne-orange-deputy-suspended-bias-muslim-facebook-post-20210302-4slsmoqi6zecppjbzbnno6ksae-story.html?outputType=amp 

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