The district attorney of a North Carolina county is resisting calls to resign over his Facebook comments concerning a police shooting.
Cumberland County District Attorney Skip Ebert says that when he commented on Facebook about the Jacob Blake case he was trying to respond to posts highly critical of the police and urged waiting for the investigation to be completed and respecting due process.
The post that led local groups to take to social media, accuse him of justifying the shooting and demand his resignation, read, “What was the ‘father’s’ criminal record? What was he being arrested for? Why was he unable to comply with police requests?”
The comment was a response to a post that said money shouldn’t be raised for the legal defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two people during an incident at a riot in Kenosha. Blake, who is said to have been left partially paralyzed, was shot by the police after a domestic disturbance call, is “a father of 3” who should instead be receiving support, said the Facebook post to which Ebert was responding.
Cumberland County Democratic Committee spokesperson Colleen Ngyuen agreed that the response “definitely came across” as an attempt to justify the shooting and joined the calls for his resignation.
Ngyuen also said that it was irrelevant “how good of a district attorney” he had been in the past, and that his comment and the way it is interpreted by critics was enough to sack him now.
Ebert is among a number of public officials and figures whose social media posts have been scrutinized of late in relation to incidents in the US. And even though he sees politics as playing a role in the campaign against him, he chose to delete his post.
Ebert at the same time denied that he was justifying a person being shot in the back, saying that his intent was to call for caution, consideration of the context in which the police operated, and recalled his record as a district attorney who in the past prosecuted police officers who had broken the law.
But Ebert conceded that he “probably should have been more aware” – in light of what he refers to as “the climate of the times in the United States.”