Prison warden fired for posting anti-Muslim memes

24th Apr 2020

Nadine Osman

A prison warden in Wisconsin, US, has been dismissed after posting Facebook memes comparing Muslim children to rubbish.

Richard Schneiter, 65, of the Department of Corrections, was fired in November, records from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) reveal. Schneiter appealed his firing in December but was denied. He filed a second appeal last month and has a hearing scheduled before the commission on April 2.

That hearing will serve as a type of mini-trial where both Schneiter and the Department of Corrections can present evidence and call witnesses. The ruling from the WERC Chair can be appealed in court.

“I don’t think he’s racist and even if he’s racist he’s got First Amendment rights,” said his Attorney, Nate Cade.

Schneiter was fired after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in July reported on his Facebook postings.

In June, he posted a meme of two black garbage bags next to a Muslim woman and child in black burkas and a caption saying the woman had three beautiful children.

In a letter appealing his firing dated January 12, Schneiter said the Department of Corrections failed to establish just cause for removing him. He said the Department’s investigation into what happened was not fair, objective or thorough.

Schneiter said there was no evidence that the Facebook memes he posted represented his views. He argued they were posted to promote discussion and debate.

Over his 42-year career “there is no evidence whatsoever” to suggest his personal views were the same as those presented in the memes, Schneiter wrote.

Schneiter was Deputy Warden for the Wisconsin Correctional Center System, a network of 14 minimum-security prisons that mostly house inmates just before they are released. He has not been at work since he was fired and his appeal is pending

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