Philadelphia court supervisor fired for saying Black lives don’t matter

Michael Henkel had worked for the city’s First Judicial District up until a video went viral showing him tearing down Black Lives Matter posters.

via screenshot

A Philadelphia man caught on camera tearing down Black Lives Matter signs from a fence during a peaceful-protest has been fired from his job as a Family Court supervisor. 

Michael Henkel, 61, had worked for the city’s First Judicial District up until a video went viral on Sunday showing him raging and cursing about how he doesn’t care about Black lives, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. 

In the 34-second clip, a woman is heard telling Henkel that the signs are not his property. To which he replies, “I know. It’s the city. I pay for this. … Yeah, my taxes pay for this place, yep.”

He adds: “So I can do whatever I want. … I’m always around here, too.”

“Great. I live right here,” the woman replies, adding, “Black Lives Matter!”

Henkel fires back: “Not to me, they don’t.”

READ MORE: Survey: Depression on the rise among Black Americans after Floyd death

The signs were put up on a fence in the park as part of a kid-friendly march on Friday afternoon that was organized by community leaders.

“For that adult to take that away from children, it’s just really awful,” said local activist Leslie Chapman. “The kids probably had a lot of fun making those signs.”

The woman in the video posted of her encounter with Henkel to her Facebook page Sunday. By Monday afternoon, it was blocked from public view after being widely shared across social media. 

The video was also published by Instagram user @nogunzone.

In a statement Monday, Family Court spokesperson Marty O’Rourke confirmed that Henkel “is no longer an employee.”

“His termination was based on multiple violations” of the state court system’s Code of Conduct O’Rourke said.

“The Court takes the incident very seriously and believes Mr. Henkel’s behavior as shown in the video is egregious and totally unacceptable for an employee of the Courts,” the First Judicial District, Philadelphia court system, said in a statement.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

 

Share