Fort Worth Official Removed From Anti-discrimination Panel Over His Bigoted Facebook Posts

Fort Worth's City Council on Tuesday voted to remove an official from the city's Human Rights Commission over a series of bigoted social media posts that maligned immigrants, transgender people and Muslims.The removal came days after a massacre targeting immigrants at an El Paso Walmart. Police arrested a suspect from North Texas who had posted an anti-immigrant manifesto shortly before the slayings.Michael Steele became a member of the Human Relations Commission in early 2015, according to the city's website. He was set to complete his second term on Oct. 1, but rules would have allowed him to serve another two years on the commission if reappointed.The commission's goal is to advise on and eliminate prejudice and discrimination in Fort Worth.On Wednesday, City Council members voted unanimously to remove Steele, after the official responded to calls to resign with a vow to fight his critics."As a proud father of a LGBT son, I vehemently reject the defamatory comments posted about me on social and local media," Steele said in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I do not intend to resign. I have fought foreign enemies, and I will fight domestic social media mobs."Mayor Betsy Price called on Steele to resign in July, after a Texas Christian University professor tweeted out screenshots of his problematic Facebook posts. The tweets drew attention to posts Steele shared that implied Michelle Obama was transgender, that Muslims were terrorists and that immigrants were pushing the GOP "to extinction."On the latter post, Steele appeared to add his own commentary: "Agreed. Buy ammo."The Star-Telegram reported that city officials and residents had long been aware of Steele's social media content. His formerly public Facebook page has since been removed.  Continue reading...

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