An official in Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration was fired over the weekend after he posted social media content in support of the 17-year-old charged with shooting three anti-racism protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two of them.
Marches and demonstration erupted last week in Kenosha after local police shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man walking toward his car, seven times in the back in front of his three children. Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Arthur “Mac” Love IV, who served as the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives shared a meme to his personal Facebook page of a white police officer with two thumbs and the all-caps quote, “DON’T BE A THUG IF YOU CAN’T TAKE A SLUG!” among other controversial posts.
The Governor’s Office of Community Initiative coordinates volunteer service activities and oversees the state’s ethnic and cultural commissions, including the state’s Commission on African-American History and Culture. Maryland’s official museum of African-American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis, operates under the purview of the Commission on African-American History and Culture.
Another post from Love featured a photograph of actor Leonardo DiCaprio lifting a glass of champagne with the caption: “When you see a skateboard wielding Antifa chickens*** get smoked by an AR toting 17-yr-old.” According to his LinkedIn profile, Love had been in his position since January 2015 when Hogan took office.
In a late July post, Love commenting on the clashes between armed police and protesters in Portland, wrote: “So at what point in time does the local militia gather to defend the local police from these radical anarchists and terrorists. . . . Asking for a friend.”
In another previous post, the 44-year-old Love, a longtime GOP operative who previously worked for former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee, added a comment linking the portrayal of LGBTQ characters on television to pedophilia.
State Del. Eric Luedtke was among the first to call for Love’s firing after seeing the post supporting the teenager accused in the triple shooting, describing them as “horrific” and “supporting extrajudicial murder.”
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin also weighed in as the outcry grew on social media Saturday. He tweeted: “It took a lifetime of buying into twisted viewpoints for Mr. Love to spew such filth in this moment. How long will it take for @MDGOP and @LarryHogan to renounce them?”
Prince George’s Del. Darryl Barnes, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, told Maryland Matters that he was shown Love’s social media posts Saturday morning and described them as “highly disturbing.”
“There’s no sense for it,” Barnes said. “There’s no reason someone like this should be part of our state government.”
By early Saturday afternoon, Steven McAdams, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, issued a statement saying that Love had been dismissed.
“These divisive images and statements are inconsistent with the mission and core values of the Office of Community Initiatives,” McAdams said. “Earlier today, I relieved this employee of his duties. Kevin Craft, administrative director of the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs, will assume these duties effective immediately.”
Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill, a spokeswoman for Hogan, released a statement supporting Love’s firing.
“These posts are obviously totally inappropriate,” DeLeaver-Churchill said. “We fully support the immediate actions taken by Director McAdams to address this matter.”
Love is the second Hogan Administration official to land in trouble this month.
Two weeks ago, Roy McGrath, Gov. Hogan’s longtime associate, advisor, and former chief of staff, resigned following criticism over a nearly $250,000 severance package—first reported by The Baltimore Sun—that he received after leaving Maryland Environmental Service, a nonprofit state agency, to work directly for the governor. The Sun also reported that McGrath submitted more than $55,000 in old Maryland Environmental Service expense reimbursement requests in early June, some of which dated to January 2019.
McGrath said in a statement after his resignation that the uproar around his case was “simply the sad politics of personal destruction.”
Former Baltimore City Councilman and state Del. Keiffer Mitchell Jr. is currently serving as Gov. Hogan’s acting chief of staff.