A Florida police officer who was in the running for chief of his local department was temporarily suspended last week after the Miami Herald outed him for liking comments on Facebook that were critical of U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13).
Pablo Lima, a corporal in Bay Harbor Islands and former vice president of the Miami-Dade police union, was in the application process for becoming the town’s next chief of police. Then the Miami Herald alerted “town officials” about comments and posts he “liked” on Facebook and Instagram. Lima was immediately placed on paid leave pending an internal affairs investigation, which concluded Thursday.
Integral to the story is the fact that Lima’s wife, Anabelle Lima-Taub, is a member of the Hallandale Beach City Commission and received national attention last year for saying Congresswoman Tlaib might become “a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.” The commission later voted 3-2 to formally condemn Lima-Taub for “hate speech,” but she has refused to back down from her comments.
Lima shared an article to Facebook about the story surrounding his wife and proceeded to “like” five comments left on the post. According to the Miami Herald, one of the comments called Tlaib a “piece of s—” who “took her oath on the Koran.”
The officer also liked a post on his wife’s Instagram account that called Congresswoman Omar a “hate monger” for her comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“The content of the social media posts that were brought to our attention are not consistent with our town’s values and policies,” Town Manager J.C. Jimenez said in a statement released last week. “Corporal Pablo Lima is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. State law prohibits us from discussing details of an open internal affairs investigation.”
The Miami Herald suggested in its article that Lima’s actions may have been in violation of the police department’s social media policy, but the results of the investigation released Thursday afternoon found this allegation to be “unfounded.”
Jimenez announced that Lima was restored to full duty Thursday, but it’s unclear if he’s still in the running for police chief.
“I further find that Corporal Lima was expressing his First Amendment rights showing support for his wife,” a summary of the investigation stated.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Ilhan Omar. Photo “Rashida Tlaib” by Rashida Tlaib.