Maryland Fires Employee For Sharing Memes Supporting Kyle Rittenhouse

The deputy director of the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI) in Maryland was fired by Republican Governor Larry Hogan's administration on Saturday for sharing posts that appeared to praise Kyle Rittenhouse, the alleged shooter of three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Arthur "Mac" Love IV, was fired after posting memes that appear sympathetic to Rittenhouse, according to Maryland Matters. One of the memes included two images of Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot in the arm during the protests while holding a handgun. The caption on the image reads "When you get 2nd place in Wisconsins Annual Quick Draw Competition."

"These divisive images and statements are inconsistent with the mission and core values of the Office of Community Initiatives. Earlier today, I relieved this employee of his duties," Executive Director for GOCI Steve McAdams said in a statement, according to WRC-TV.

A spokesperson for the governor's office praised McAdams' decision to fire Love.

"These posts are obviously totally inappropriate. We fully support the immediate actions taken by Director McAdams to address this matter," Shareese Churchill, a spokesperson for Hogan told WRC.

Darryl Barnes, the chair of the state's Legislative Black Caucus, told Maryland Matters that he wanted to see Love fired for the posts.

"There's no sense for it," Barnes said. "There's no reason someone like this should be part of our state government."

Love responded to his firing Saturday on Facebook, according to WBAL-TV.

"Be careful ... Don't support the 17-year-old American or people might call you a racist, or I don't know, get you fired from your job," Love wrote.

Kevin Craft, administrative director of the Governor's Commission on African Affairs, will take over Love's former position, according to WHAM-TV.

Newsweek reached out to Gov. Hogan's office for comment.

kenosha protests
Protesters run for cover as police shoots teargas in an effort to disperse the crowd outside the County Courthouse during demonstrations against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty

Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged with murdering two protesters in Kenosha on Tuesday, and wounding a third. His arrest has been controversial, with supporters describing Rittenhouse as acting in self-defense.

Video of the incident appears to show Rittenhouse, openly carrying an AR-15 assault rifle to the Kenosha protest, being chased before tripping and falling to the ground. In the video, he then appears to fire at his pursuers.

Fundraisers to pay for Rittenhouse's defense have been taken down by crowdfunding sites GoFundMe and Fundly. However, the Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo has let the fundraiser from the Atlanta, Georgia group "Friends of the Rittenhouse Family" remain on its site.

"Kyle Rittenhouse just defended himself from a brutal attack by multiple members of the far-leftist group ANTIFA – the experience was undoubtedly a brutal one, as he was forced to take two lives to defend his own," the group wrote on the campaign's page.

As of publication, the GiveSendGo fundraiser was under $500 away from its goal of $200,000.

The protests in Kenosha were in result of the Sunday shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police officers. Blake was shot seven times in the back while attempting to enter his vehicle while his young children watched. Blake did not have a weapon on his person, however, the Wisconsin Department of Justice says he had a knife in his car.