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Florida DOC Attorney Resigns After Posting Racially-Charged Comments

by David M. Reutter

Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) assistant general counsel Eric Giunta resigned after making “absolutely unacceptable” comments on Facebook about a video portraying systematic racism.

The video was posted by Providence College assistant theology professor Holly Taylor Coolman. It blamed the challenges facing black people and communities on “systematic racism” by whites.

After he viewed a friend’s Facebook post of the video, Giunta wrote that “black people need to stop raping, murdering, stealing, and vandalizing, and quit having children out of wedlock.”

“That’s how literally every other once-despised ethnic group broke the cycle and entered into the middle class mainstream,” he added. In one comment, he said he saw nothing in the video “that even remotely took into account black lifestyle choices and their impact on black poverty.... Nope, it’s all the fault of the white devil!” 

His comments created an outcry. In a follow-up post, Coolman told Giunta it was hard to know how to respond to his Facebook posts.

“I’ll just say briefly that I don’t think your comment reflects an understanding of the important differences between the history of the black community and of ‘every other once despised ethnic group,’” she said.

The FDOC had no problem responding. It placed Giunta, who earned $60,000 a year in the department’s habeas division, on disciplinary review. 

“This individual’s comments are absolutely unacceptable and are not in line with the values of the Florida Department of Corrections, nor are they a reflection of the thousands of dedicated professionals who serve our agency daily,” FDOC Director of Communications Michelle Glady stated.

In reply, Giunta said his comments were “directed to a social media pen pal, not the broader public, and my wording was admittedly inartful,” Noting he was the son of immigrants, he denied he was racist. “My response was admittedly brusque, but I obviously did not mean to suggest that all or even most black people are criminals, violent or otherwise,” he wrote. “Rather, I was pointing out what I perceived to be the deficits of the video: the failure to address the effect relatively high crime rates, and astronomically high out-of-wedlock birth rates, have on black communities and the ability of many blacks to break out of the economic-depressive cycles the video refers to.”

Giunta resigned from his position with the FDOC in April 2019, before the disciplinary review had been completed. 

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Sources: abajournal.com, tallahassee.com