‘My taxes pay for this place, just so you know. So I can do whatever I want’
By Graig Graziosi, Independent
A supervisor with Philadelphia’s Family Court was fired after a video circulated online showing him tearing down Black Lives Matter signs and telling bystanders that Black lives don’t matter to him.
The video shows Michael Henkel marching along a sidewalk tearing Black Lives Matter signs from fences and walls. When a bystander yells “Black lives matter” at him, Mr. Henkel replies “not to me, they don’t.”
The fence was surrounding a public playground and was on public property. During the video, a woman off-camera yells that the signs weren’t his property.
“My taxes pay for this place, just so you know. So I can do whatever I want … I’m always around here too,” Mr. Henkel says to an individual during the video.
According to CNN, Mr. Henkel was fired Monday from the First Judicial District over multiple violations of the state court system’s Code of Conduct and Non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Policy.
Fired. Michael Henkel, 61, of Philadelphia, who was a family court supervisor, was fired after this video surfaced showing him ripping black lives matter signs off public fencing. Someone said: “Black lives matter". He responded, “Not to me, they don't"
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 15, 2020
“The Court takes this incident very seriously and believes Mr. Henkel’s behaviour as shown in the video is egregious and totally unacceptable for an employee of the Courts,” Martin O’Rourke, a spokesman for the family court, said.
According to Mr. O’Rourke, Mr. Henkle had no involvement with adjudicating cases, but did supervise employees.
Mr. Henkel wasn’t the only city employee affected by the George Floyd protests against police brutality and systemic racism; Philadelphia Police Department Captain Lou Campione was removed from his command Tuesday morning for his handling of a protest over a Christopher Columbus statue.
Mr. Capione was removed from his command in Philadelphia’s 1st District after his officers allowed a group of armed individuals guarding the statue of Columbus to beat up a smaller group of protesters calling for its removal. The protesters were attacked and forced into the street.
“While we were getting pushed into traffic, there was a line of 40 cops that did nothing. They did nothing,” Deborah Rose, a West Philadelphia resident, told CBS 3 Philadelphia.
Mr. Capione’s demotion came following an Internal Affairs investigation into his response to the encounter.
This article originally appeared in The Independent.