Will Jose Ometeotl keep his job after cheering the ambush of two LA Sheriff deputies as “chickens come home to roost”? Sorry, we will have to tune in to a later episode, as the Lynwood city council chose to place its city manager on paid leave — for now. The council wants to complete an investigation first, Fox LA reporter Bill Melugin reported from the scene last night:
BREAKING: City of Lynwood votes to place city manager Jose Ometeotl on administrative leave following his Instagram post saying “Chickens come home to roost” in response to the shooting ambush of two LASD deputies. His employment w/ city now under review. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/l1Lu0ChoQF
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 16, 2020
That action finally caught the attention of other local media outlets, where Ometeotl’s reaction had been roundly ignored by everyone but Melugin. NBC’s local affiliate, like the others, had to play catch-up by basically riding Melugin’s previous reporting:
Lynwood City Manager Jose Ometeotl was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday night pending an internal investigation after he posted a response to the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton.
Ometeotl posted a response on his Instagram account on Sunday to the shooting of the two deputies with a photo of Malcolm X with writing over it that said “Chickens come home to roost.”
“The shooting of anyone is a wholly unacceptable occurrence in society. I do not condone the type of violence seen in the shooting of the deputies yesterday in Compton. I will say that communities like Compton have been plagued by deputy gangs that inflict fear and violence in the community,” Ometeotl wrote on Instagram.
“These deputies murdered, framed and stole from the community just because they could. Good deputies never turned on bad deputies for fear of retaliation and when caught most of these bad deputies kept their jobs and continued on their criminal career. The fact that someone randomly opened fire on deputies is to be expected in the society we live in today. The political climate and leadership of Sheriff Villanueva has only sowed the seeds of anger and frustration in the community. I pray for the deputies and their families while still demanding justice for Andres Guardado, Breona Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery.”
The city council action also forced the local CBS and ABC affiliates to run essentially identical, bare-bones reports about what happened. The LA Times is still valiantly holding on in its struggle to keep the story from appearing on its site, as is local indie station KTLA. Melugin’s KTTV station ran nearly an identical report, although they at least had reported the story earlier.
What none of these outlets mention is the issue which is most likely to matter in this investigation — assuming the city council is serious about it. They can just fire Ometeotl for his social-media outburst, but that’s not really a subject for an investigation, since (a) it’s not illegal and (b) Ometeotl posted it on his personal account. If the city council is ordering an investigation, it’s much more likely that they are unhappy about what Ometeotl did as official business, which is part of what prompted Salvador Alatorre’s motion yesterday:
Lynwood Councilman Salvador Alatorre told Fox News that he will make the motion regarding the Instagram post by City Manager Jose Ometeotl during Tuesday’s special meeting. Alatorre said Ometeotl has previously sent a letter using a city letterhead to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to support the defunding of police.
“For some reason, he decided to go beyond his authority, Alatorre said of the social media post. “He’s not an elected official. He represents the city of Lynwood 24/7. He cannot make statements while he’s employed by our city, especially when he jeopardizes public safety.
“Now what’s going to happen? We have the top administrator against public safety, then what do they expect from the rest of us,” he added.
City managers are not supposed to use their offices for politicking. They are unelected employees of city councils, hired to run the bureaucracy for them and allow councils to deal with higher-level policy and political issues. Campaigning for political issues on official city letterhead is a huge no-no for city managers in cities which structure themselves in that manner, and would be a very good subject for an investigation into abuse of office.
That’s likely what the Lynwood city council has in mind. Or, just as likely, they could be hoping that an investigation will drag out long enough to allow everyone to forget about Ometeotl’s despicable social-media posts, and allow them to quietly reinstate Ometeotl in a month or two. Hopefully, Melugin stays on the case, since the rest of the local media appears worthless.