Irvine Mayor Christina Shea is under fire for comments criticizing protests against Black Lives Matter

Irvine Mayor Christina Shea has been targeted for commenting on protests against Black Lives Matter in Irvine, deleting comments and blocking supporters of the movement criticizing her on her Facebook profile.

“I will not allow my city to become a place for expressing anger and hatred against my residents and my outstanding police force, which I stand 100% behind,” Shea said in a Mayor’s Corner video posted online Thursday has been.

She continued, while supporting peaceful demonstrations: “Personally, I do not support ads that harbor swear words, comments from our racist police officers, or encouraging hostility, especially when families with young children take part in these protests.”

Dozens had turned up at City Hall by Friday’s press conference co-organized by Thurgood Marshall Bar Assn., Orange County’s only black bar association, and activist groups OCERC and Yalla Indivisible to address the comments.

“Some of the concerns are broadly [that] The mayor’s comments appear to be attempting to suppress protesters’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly, ”Thurgood Marshall board member Denise Carter said on the phone. “She is trying to tell protesters what they can and cannot say, including saying that she does not stand for cursing the police and calling them racist.

“A very common protest chant is’ No justice, no peace, no racist police. ‘If she tries to suppress people’s ability to speak up, it becomes problematic. “

Khalil Mcleod, one of several black community speakers who went to the megaphone during a protest outside Irvine City Hall on Wednesday.

(Ben Brazil)

Despite Shea’s rhetoric about “the destructive and radical behavior we’ve seen in our communities over the past week,” Irvine Police Cmdr told. Noelle Smiley said no arrests have been made since the protests began about a week ago.

The Irvine Police Department thanked the demonstrators on their Twitter account after the big protest on Wednesday for “peacefully expressing” their views at the demonstration.

Shea said on the phone that she hadn’t participated in any of the Irvine protests.

The Bar Association, other legal experts and local residents also criticize Shea for deleting posts from local residents who disagree with her from her personal Facebook page.

Shea posted a comment on her personal Facebook page Thursday morning, the day after a major protest at Irvine City Hall, responding to those calling for a police spending cut.

“I will continue to support our law enforcement agencies in Irvine with the highest dollar we can spend protecting ourselves,” Shea said. “I’m not going to cut your budget. If that’s not your interest, perhaps living in a different community that harbors different values, a less secure environment will best suit your lifestyle.

“We are a diverse community with over 150 languages ​​and my goal is to continue the course … protect ourselves and show the tolerance, protection and love our residents deserve. Creating a false narrative about who I am … what my goals and values ​​are is a political agenda that is transparent and yours right. “

Hundreds took part in a protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis outside Irvine City Hall on Wednesday.

Hundreds took part in a protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis outside Irvine City Hall on Wednesday.

(Ben Brazil)

A few days earlier, Shea described Floyd’s death as “pointless” but said, “I have instructed my boss to take all appropriate measures to ensure a safe demonstration.”

Shea said on the phone that she deleted comments and blocked multiple users.

“You are literally attacking me, blaming me, and threatening me, and I’ve made it clear that if you keep doing this, I’ll block you,” Shea said.

According to online users, Mayor Christina Shea has blocked him for comments on her personal Facebook page.

According to online users, Mayor Christina Shea has blocked him for comments on her personal Facebook page.

(File)

Jessica Ortega, an Irvine resident, said she was blocked after posting comments on Shea’s personal Facebook page. She said she knew a few others who had also been blocked for critical comments on Shea, who could be re-elected in November.

“If I can’t express myself to my own mayor about change, I don’t feel like my voice is ever heard,” Ortega said.

Local legal experts said there was a difference between politicians who regulate comments on personal social media profiles and official ones.

On May 31, Shea posted a statement on the protests on her personal and professional Facebook pages and both signed as “Mayor Christina Shea.”

This post and the others about the protests have since been deleted from her personal page.

Online users say they have been blocked by Mayor Christina Shea for commenting on her personal Facebook page.

Online users say they have been blocked by Mayor Christina Shea for commenting on her personal Facebook page.

(File)

“If government officials make clear use of social media in their government capacity, if they allow comments, they cannot discriminate based on the content of those comments,” said Peter Eliasberg, chief counsel and 1st Amendment Attorney at the ACLU of Southern California. “Government officials can act as individuals and use social media as individuals. In these cases, they are free to choose whether they want to delete or allow comments, or choose or choose between them.

“There is quite a bit of official content for both [Shea’s] Pages, and we have serious concerns about Mayor Shea’s blocking comments on one of their Facebook sites. “

Michele Goodwin, Professor of Law to the Chancellor at UCI Law, agreed that the legality issue is complicated when politicians post on both their personal and official accounts.

“If her Facebook account is more personal, she can do whatever she wants on that account,” said Goodwin. “But what we’ve seen in the past few years are politicians blurring those lines and using these platforms to express their official views.”

Goodwin said that while Shea’s actions are legal, she disagrees with them.

“It’s not always what’s legal that is right,” said Goodwin.

Online users claim to have been blocked by Mayor Christina Shea for commenting on her personal Facebook page.

Online users claim to have been blocked by Mayor Christina Shea for commenting on her personal Facebook page.

(File)

Shea said on the phone that she generally tries not to post professional statements on her personal Facebook page. She said the May 31 post was likely a mistake by a new hire.

Shea also said that she has since made her personal Facebook page private so the public cannot see her posts, although at press time, the posts are still visible on her personal Facebook.

“Those who constantly accused and unfairly attacked me have a right to do so, but that’s my personal side,” Shea said. “If you want, you can email the city or comment on my public page. You can do whatever you want. But on my personal side, these are my family, friends, and community members that I have been in touch with, and I will no longer lead to a hostile, aggressive debate. “

She continued, “I spoke to my city administrator and he said that he has worked with people involved in protests for years. He said you couldn’t have a normal dialogue with them. All they want to do is stir up and be aggressive, and there is nowhere to go. I have honestly tried to communicate and have a dialogue on a fair basis, but these people, some not all, do not want to have a dialogue in a good conversation. “

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