An assistant finance director at the Seminole County Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office has been placed on administrative leave after posting Facebook comments suggesting that Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala “be tarred and feathered — if not hung from a tree,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“Maybe SHE should get the death penalty,” Stan McCullars commented under a story about Ayala’s recent decision not to seek the death penalty in capital-murder cases. Her stance on the hot-button issue sparked immediate backlash from Florida’s law enforcement community and even some government officials.
“I have determined that [seeking capital punishment] is not in the best interest of the community or the best interest of justice,” Ayala, Florida’s first African-American state attorney, said during a news conference last week.
Gov. Rick Scott, who openly denounced the state attorney’s decision, asked that she immediately recuse herself from the case involving accused-cop killer Markeith Loyd. The governor ultimately removed Ayala from the case himself on Friday, March 17, but the attorney has since filed a motion to remain, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
McCullars later deleted his offensive comments, but not before fellow social media users took notice of them.
“I was pretty disgusted by it … but I didn’t know the person who posted it,” Maitland attorney Jennifer Jacobs said when she saw the original posts. “I looked him up and I saw he was an employee of the Clerk of Courts office.”
Jacobs said that’s when she sent a screenshot of the comments to Grant Maloy, Clerk of Courts and Comptroller, to make him aware of what one of his employees was posting on social media.
Maloy has denounced the comments, saying McCullars’ rhetoric doesn’t “reflect my beliefs or the beliefs of the comptroller’s office.”
“The office does not condone or tolerate anything discriminatory, whether a customer, a public official or the public,” he added.
McCullars has since been placed on administrative leave with pay while the office investigates to determine the proper course of disciplinary action. Maloy said he’s called Ayala personally to apologize and express the office’s regrets over the incident.