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Lucido issues statement after coming under fire for Robert E. Lee post

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Posted at 2:50 PM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 18:14:15-05

(WXYZ) — Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido issued a statement Friday after coming under fire for a social media post commemorating Robert E. Lee’s birthday on January 19.

In the statement, Lucido said his communications director made the post without his prior approval and that he “immediately had it taken down” when he became aware of the post.

“I apologize for any stress the January 19th, post created. I do not support or condone Robert E. Lee’s role in the American Civil War or what the Confederate Army was trying to achieve,” Lucido wrote.

He said they have implemented a new review process for social media posts moving forward.

"It represents racism, hate, separation, discrimination," said Reverend W.J. Rideout III, Defenders of Truth & Justice Founder of the post.

Reverand Rideout was mentioned in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Prosecutor Lucido. It is connected to a situation back in 2020. Rideout was protesting inflammatory comments made about Black Lives Matter Protesters by the Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide. Police arrested him.

“It was hard on me, my family, my church,” said Rideout.

A judge dismissed the charges and the reverend sued saying his first amendment rights were violated. Now in a new lawsuit Former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Van Laan says he got fired for blowing the whistle on racism and retaliation. Van Lawn’s Attorney Deb Gordon says Prosecutor Peter Lucido charged black protesters more severely than white protesters and wanted to appeal the dismissal of charges against Rideout in retaliation for Rideout’s lawsuit.

“Mr. Rideout had a first amendment right to file a lawsuit,” said Gordon.

“When the truth came out, everybody was like wow,” said Rideout.

The social media post about Robert E. Lee came a day after that new lawsuit.

“He needs to resign,” said Rideout.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel responded to the posts earlier Friday, saying in part, "the County has no control over the Prosecutor's social media accounts, however, we condemn the incredibly insensitive nature of his most recent post.”

Read Lucido’s full statement below:

"On my behalf, my Communications Director posts information about the office and occasionally current affairs on the Prosecutor’s Office social media sites. On
Thursday, Robert E. Lee’s birthday, a post was made quoting his statement on the cruelty of war, thinking it was historically significant and not thinking the post needed my review.

Unfortunately, the greater context of Robert E. Lee, his support of the Confederate States, relationship to our shameful slave history and the hurtful nature of
commemorating him to many in our community, was not considered. I understand such a post was inappropriate and immediately had it taken down when I became
aware of it.

Further, we have implemented a review process for all future social media posts to ensure such an insensitive post is not repeated.

I apologize for any stress the January 19th, post created. I do not support or condone Robert E. Lee’s role in the American Civil War or what the Confederate Army was trying to achieve.

In retrospect, the following quote may have been more appropriate, “Let us have peace,” said General U.S. Grant.

We are working to ensure our upcoming Black History Month post gathers the right kind of attention.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Lucido

Macomb County Prosecutor"