The former Hogan administration official who was fired for posting social media memes supporting the teenager arrested for firing into a crowd of protesters in Kenosha, Wis., has retained the attorney who is representing the Kenosha shooter.
In a statement released Thursday, supporters of Arthur “Mac” Love IV, the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives who was fired Aug. 29, said Love has hired lawyer John Pierce and that Pierce has filed an administrative appeal with the state seeking to have Love reinstated.
Pierce also is defending Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who brought a semi-automatic rifle to Kenosha one night in late August and opened fire on a crowd of protesters who were demanding racial justice for Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by a white police officer days earlier. Rittenhouse’s supporters say he was defending himself from an increasingly hostile crowd.
In the aftermath of Rittenhouse’s arrest, Love posted a photo on his private Facebook page of a white police officer holding two thumbs up, with the caption, “Don’t be a thug if you can’t take a slug!” Another post featured a photo of actor Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass of champagne with the caption, “When you see a skateboard wielding Antifa chickens*** get smoked by an AR toting 17-yr-old.”
Love was fired soon after his social media posts came to light. His boss in the governor’s office, Steven J. McAdams, a lifelong friend of Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), called the posts “divisive.”
But Pierce and Love’s other supporters contend that Love was simply exercising his First Amendment rights and that his firing was unconstitutional. What’s more, they claim that Love was expressing his support for Rittenhouse’s right to self-defense.
“The value of Mr. Love’s speech outweighs any potential damage,” Pierce wrote this week in an administrative filing with Mona A. Vaidya, director of Financial Administration in the governor’s office. “His dialogue with other citizens about Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions was an important exercise in constitutional debate. Government employees in particular have a duty to stand up for citizens who are wrongfully accused or oppressed.”
Pierce’s filing details Love’s connections with Hogan and also takes issue with the timeline the Hogan administration laid out over Love’s firing. It asks the state to reinstate Love in his government position.
“Mr. Love is a patriot who takes great pride in his service to the citizens of Maryland,” Pierce wrote. “His greatest desire is to return to his public employment and continue his service. Mr. Love does not desire to drag this out for public spectacle and would be open to reassignment with comparable compensation if reinstated.”
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