The Alaska Department of Law is looking into allegations that Assistant Attorney General Matthias Cicotte posted racist, anti-semitic and homophobic comments on social media.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Cicotte posted under an alias, based on research by people who identify as anti-fascists.
The posts said all Black Lives Matter advocates should be in prison “or worse,” that someone who participated in a drag story hour “should be burned to death” and that parents who encourage children who are transgender should be jailed for child abuse.
Cicotte is an attorney with the state’s torts and workers compensation section. He is among the lawyers who represent the Department of Corrections.
On Thursday, the Department of Law said in a statement that Cicotte “has been removed from his caseload and his status with the Department is subject to change at any time as the investigation continues.”
The department had said in an earlier statement, on Wednesday, that it was taking the allegations seriously.
“We uphold the dignity and respect of all individuals and ask that all of our employees do the same,” the statement said. “Having just learned about this late last week, we are gathering information and conducting a review. Since this involves personnel issues, we are very limited in our ability to comment further.”
The allegations raised the concerns of Alaska civil rights advocates.
“I am just so disappointed and frustrated that we cannot move forward, that we’re not breaking ground because we have people in power that believe in racism and spew this racist rhetoric,” said Celeste Hodge Growden, president of the Alaska Black Caucus.
She said that if the department finds the article is true, it must review all cases Cicotte worked on to determine whether they should be reopened. And if he made the posts, he must not be in a position where he can influence the lives of others.
“Because if he is an individual that is racist or he exhibits racist behavior, and his actions show that he has concerns with people of color, then he clearly is in the wrong position,” she said.
NAACP Anchorage Branch Executive Director Kevin McGee said that if the story is true, Cicotte should be fired.
“You can’t justify yourself being in the Department of Law,” he said.
Cicotte didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and didn’t respond to requests from The Guardian.
The posts were under the name J. Reuben Clark, which is also the name of the law school Cicotte graduated from according to his LinkedIn page. The account made posts in support of Deseret nationalists, a group loosely associated with fringe members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons.
While the account used a pseudonym, the researchers found a trail of evidence regarding Cicotte’s identity, including photos matching his home’s interior.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information from the Department of Law. The department released a statement Thursday saying Matthias Cicotte “has been removed from his caseload.”