Hogan administration official praises teen Kenosha shooter on social media, loses job

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

A member of the Hogan administration who had been posting statements, photos and memes on social media that appear to applaud the 17-year-old vigilante who allegedly shot three protesters on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week, was fired on Saturday afternoon.

The posts by Arthur (Mac) Love IV, who had been the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, have attracted widespread attention on social media over the last several hours, sparking a furor. The chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus called on the staffer to be fired.

Shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, Steven J. McAdams, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, issued a statement saying Love had been “relieved…of his duties.”

“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.”

Moments later, Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill, a spokeswoman for Hogan, released a statement supporting Love’s firing.

“These posts are obviously totally inappropriate,” she said. “We fully support the immediate actions taken by Director McAdams to address this matter.”

Love has been active on Facebook and other social media in the past few days, posting or reposting comments supporting Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who brought an automatic rifle to Kenosha earlier this week and wound up opening fire on a crowd of protesters who were demanding racial justice.

One of Love’s Facebook posts is a photo 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 features 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.”

Kenosha, an industrial town sandwiched between Chicago and Milwaukee along Lake Michigan, has become Ground Zero in the nation’s summertime reckoning over policing and race relations, after a white police officer shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, in the back seven times last weekend as he climbed into his car. Blake is hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down, and the city has seen nightly protests for the past week, that has included arson, property damage and looting.

Rittenhouse was arrested by police at his home this week a day after videos appeared to show him opening fire on nighttime protesters, as he sat on the ground following an altercation. He has been hailed by several prominent conservative media personalities since then.

Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said he was shown Love’s social media posts Saturday morning and found them highly disturbing.

“There’s no sense for it,” Barnes said. “There’s no reason someone like this should be part of our state government.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Love is a seasoned Republican operative who had been with the Hogan administration since the governor took office in January 2015. He has also worked for the U.S. Department of Labor, for then-Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R), for the Republican National Committee, and for political consulting shops.

Baltimore Sun database of state employee salaries shows Love earned $76,000 in fiscal year 2019.

According to its website, “The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives’ mission is to serve as a coordinating office for the governor that connects Marylanders to economic, volunteer, and human service opportunities through government, business, and nonprofit partners. To address that core mission, the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives outreach efforts encompass the state’s geographic areas, ethnic groups, and faith communities.”

McAdams, the executive director, is an old Hogan friend who was a groomsman at the governor’s wedding and like Hogan is a veteran of the real estate industry. The chief of staff is Winston Wilkinson, who worked for the governor’s father when Lawrence J. Hogan Sr. was Prince George’s County executive, and later worked for Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Love’s social media postings are peppered with sentiments supporting President Trump and multiple conservative memes, but this week’s posts on Kenosha seem especially heated.

“He puts us in a bad situation,” Barnes said. “This type of rhetoric is fueling what we’re seeing across the country. You see why there’s such a call for the repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. You see why people of all races are marching in the streets calling for justice.”

Love’s posts sparked a round of outrage from liberals and Democrats on social media.

Love did not respond to a message left via Facebook Saturday morning.

jkurtz@marylandmatters.org 

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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