Lynwood city manager Jose Ometeotl (pictured) has been placed on leave after controversial comments on Instagram
A California city manager who responded to the shooting of two LA sheriff’s deputies with a Malcolm X quote about ‘chickens coming home to roost’ has been placed on leave.
Jose Ometeotl posted the quote on Instagram and said the shooting was ‘to be expected in the society we live in today’ after the two deputies were critically wounded in their parked police car in Compton, California.
After calls for Ometeotl’s sacking, the city of Lynwood announced last night that he had been placed on ‘paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation’.
The city has also distanced itself from Ometeotl’s ‘personal opinions’ which ‘don’t reflect the position of the Lynwood City Council’.
Earlier, Lynwood councilman Salvador Alatorre said he would introduce a motion to discipline or fire Ometeotl.
‘For some reason, he decided to go beyond his authority,’ Alatorre said.
The LA sheriff’s deputies, a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were ambushed by an unknown attacker on Saturday night while they sat in their patrol car at a Metro Blue Line station.
Both officers were shot in the head and underwent surgery, although both are currently in a stable condition and expected to recover.
Police are still hunting the gunman and have offered $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Ometeotl shared a picture of Malcolm X in his post, using the civil rights campaigner’s quote that ‘chickens come home to roost’ – said in reference to JFK’s assassination
After calls for Ometeotl’s sacking, the city of Lynwood announced last night that the city manager had been placed on ‘paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation’
In response to the shootings, Ometeotl posted an image with the words ‘chickens come home to roost’ accompanied by a photo of Malcolm X.
In 1963, Malcolm X used the phrase to describe John F Kennedy’s assassination in response to what he saw as the president’s lack of action against violence.
‘The hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, had finally struck down this country’s chief magistrate,’ the civil rights campaigner said of JFK’s death.
Ometeotl used the phrase to describe the Compton cops, saying that the neighborhood had been ‘plagued by deputy gangs that inflict fear and violence in the community’.
‘These deputies murdered, framed and stole from the community just because they could,’ he said.
‘Good deputies never turned on bad deputies for fear of retaliation and when caught most of these bad deputies kept their jobs and continued on their criminal career.’
The reference to ‘deputy gangs’ refers to an alleged group of 100 deputies at the Compton Station who are part of a gang called ‘The Executioners’.
A whistleblower complaint filed with LA County claims that nearly all members have a matching tattoo to symbolize their status in the gang – comprised of a skull with Nazi imagery and an AK-47.
African-American deputies and women are not allowed to join the ‘gang’, according to the complaint filed in June.
Video released by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department shows the moment that male suspect opened fire on two deputies at a Compton bus station
Ometeotl said: ‘The shooting of anyone is a wholly unacceptable occurrence in society. I do not condone the type of violence seen in the shooting of the deputies yesterday in Compton.’
But he added: ‘The fact that someone randomly opened fire on deputies is to be expected in the society we live in today.
‘The political climate and leadership of Sheriff Villanueva has only sowed the seeds of anger and frustration in the community. I pray for the deputies and their families while still demanding justice for Andres Guardado, Breona Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery…’
Alatorre said Ometeotl has put the city of Lynwood in an untenable position.
‘He’s not an elected official. He represents the city of Lynwood 24/7. He cannot make statements while he’s employed by our city, especially when he jeopardizes public safety,’ Alatorre said.
‘Now what’s going to happen? We have the top administrator against public safety, then what do they expect from the rest of us.’
A petition has been started urging him to resign, with more than 1,000 people having signed it so far.
‘A city manager should not endorse violence on those very people who would lay their life on the line for his protection,’ one supporter said.
‘He needs to shut his mouth and manage the finances of the city he is sworn to protect as a city official.’
The shooting occurred in Compton, an area near South Los Angeles that has long been a flashpoint for racial tension and mistrust of police.
Hundreds marched on Saturday to the sheriff’s department South LA station to protest the fatal shootings of a black man last month and a black teenager in 2018.
Both were killed by deputies from the station, which is about six miles from where the deputies were targeted on Saturday.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the angry rhetoric is making deputies’ work more difficult.
‘They’re out there doing their job and yet we have people fanning the flames of hatred and just turning up the volume when we don’t need it. We need to be turning it down,’ Villanueva said.
Heavily-armed police officers were seen arriving on the scene in Compton
The two officers were shot as they sat in their patrol car shortly before 7pm on Saturday
Donald Trump on Sunday said the man who opened fire at the weekend should face a ‘fast trial death penalty’ if the deputies die.
Speaking at a rally in Nevada on Sunday night, he said: ‘If you murder a police officer, you should receive the death penalty.’
To loud cheers, he continued: ‘I just saw a video of that animal who went up to the car. They were unsuspecting, fine people – very fine people.’
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that ‘this cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable’, saying the perpetrator ‘must be brought to justice’.
‘Jill and I are keeping the deputies and their loved ones in our hearts and praying for a full recovery,’ the former vice president said.
Both deputies graduated from the academy 14 months ago. Neither have been officially named.
During a press conference, Sheriff Villanueva said that the two deputies initiated radio contact after they were shot. They were transported with the assistance of other deputies,’ he shared.
‘That was a cowardly act,’ Villanueva added.
‘The two deputies were doing their job, minding their own business, watching out for the safety of the people on the train.’
‘Seeing somebody just walk up and start shooting on them. It p***es me off. It dismays me at the same time. There’s no pretty way to say it.’
The sheriff’s office later said that protesters were blocking the entrance and exit of the hospital emergency room and yelling ‘we hope they died’.
The Los Angeles County board of supervisors has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman.