Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido, already facing a whistleblower lawsuit from a former assistant prosecutor, came under fire again Friday and apologized, this time for a message posted Thursday on his social media accounts marking Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
County Information Officer Tom Lehrer said Friday the county, especially Executive Mark Hackel, has been receiving messages of concern and outrage about the post.
In a Friday statement, Hackel called the posts “disturbing,” saying the county has gotten numerous requests for comment on the matter.
“The County has no control over the Prosecutor’s social media accounts, however, we condemn the incredibly insensitive nature of his most recent post,” said Hackel, a Democrat.
Lucido apologized for “any stress the post created” in a Friday afternoon statement, adding that his communications director published the posts without running them by him, considering the quote historically significant.
“Unfortunately, the greater context of Robert E. Lee, his support of the Confederate States, relationship to our shameful slave history and the hurtful nature of commemorating him to many in our community, was not considered,” said Lucido, a Republican. “I do not support or condone Robert E. Lee’s role in the American Civil War or what the Confederate Army was trying to achieve.”
A new review process for social media posts will be implemented, Lucido said in the statement.
The post featured the prosecutor’s official title in large print, sandwiched by the state and county seals beneath an image of the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia, which has since been dismantled after a lengthy court battle following the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The post ― which appeared on the prosecutor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts on Thursday and has since been deleted ― includes a quote from Lee.
“But what a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.”
Michigan was a Union state in the Civil War and 90,000 state soldiers fought in the war. An estimated 640,000 to 700,000 Americans died in the 1861-1865 war.
The post came the same week a former Macomb County assistant prosecutor filed a lawsuit against Lucido, asserting he was fired in retaliation after reporting sexual harassment as well as gender, racial and disability discrimination during a county investigation.
Joshua Van Laan was as a county assistant prosecuting attorney for 11 years before he participated in a county-financed investigation in 2022 that determined Lucido had made inappropriate sexual comments toward employees and used race as a factor for assignments.
Lucido denied the accusations by 16 current and former county employees in the investigation through his attorney and called the probe a “witch hunt,” but the county’s human resources department recommended he undergo training for civil rights and union rights.
As a state senator, Lucido was also asked to undergo training in 2020 when an investigation by the Senate Business Office determined that though “none of the publicized complaints could be unequivocally substantiated,” reported incidents of sexual harassment and inappropriate physical contact from three women “more likely than not” occurred. He denied the allegations.
Lucido has refused to answer on multiple occasions if he ever participated in the suggested trainings.