The husband of a Hallandale Beach commissioner who was condemned for anti-Muslim comments was placed on administrative leave by the Bay Harbor Islands police department Thursday for social media posts appearing to show support for his wife’s views.
Pablo Lima, a corporal in Bay Harbor Islands and a former vice president of the Miami-Dade police union, submitted an application Tuesday to become the town’s next police chief.
On Thursday morning, after the Miami Herald asked town officials about comments and posts that Lima “liked” on Facebook and Instagram, the department placed him on paid leave and opened an internal affairs investigation.
“The content of the social media posts that were brought to our attention are not consistent with our Town’s values and policies,” Town Manager J.C. Jimenez said in a statement. “Corporal Pablo Lima is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. State law prohibits us from discussing details of an open internal affairs investigation.”
Lima did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
In January 2019, the Hallandale Beach City Commission voted 3-2 to condemn Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub for a Facebook post saying that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, might become “a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”
The post was denounced as hate speech by numerous Muslim and Jewish human rights organizations, but Lima-Taub remained unapologetic, saying Tlaib’s support for boycotting Israel equated her with terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
The day of the commission vote, dozens of supporters of Lima-Taub held Israeli flags and signs calling Tlaib a terrorist outside Hallandale Beach City Hall. The group included people with a wide range of politics, including those who support Israel and denounce the boycott movement against it, and far-right Internet personality and conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer.
On Jan. 30, 2019, one week after the vote to condemn the Israeli-born Lima-Taub, Pablo Lima shared a story on his Facebook page from WLRN.org titled, “Why A Hallandale Beach Panel Condemned A Commissioner For Anti-Islamic Language.”
Lima proceeded to “like” five comments showing support for Lima-Taub, including multiple comments that appeared to espouse anti-Muslim sentiments. One comment that Lima “liked” included the line: “This [piece of s—] took her oath on the Koran.”
“Screw these liberal commisioners and mayor,” the comment said. “When will these politicians grow some cohones and start supporting America and it’s Americans. They talk about [Lima-Taub] being a racist and spewing hate. These [expletive] forget that this muslim [Tlaib] supports the people who flew planes into our NY twin towers and killed over 5000 people and more dying from exposure still 18 years later.”
The comment continued: “This [piece of s—] took her oath on the Koran. She openly hates Jews and talks about how they should all die or be killed. Remind me again why you would not support Lima-Talib [Lima-Taub]?”
Lima also “liked” comments on the post that said: “I applaud her”; “Complete BS….”; and “free speach fk them.”
Another comment that Lima “liked” said: “But Talib [Tlaib] gets to spew her hatred of Jews and others not of the Islamic faith and it’s ok not to defend yourselfI’m with the commissioner, awaiting the next terrorist plot to open eyes again only when something happens.”
Lima did not post any comments below the Facebook post himself.
The Herald also made Bay Harbor Islands officials aware of an Instagram post by Lima-Taub that was “liked” by Lima’s personal account.
In a post on Sept. 11, 2019, Lima-Taub quoted a statement by U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar ?— one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, along with Tlaib ?— that “some people did something” in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Lima-Taub, using her Instagram account “@theroguecommissioner,” called Omar a “hate monger” and said the United States was “founded on Judeo-Christian values.”
“#NeverForget #911 ‘Some people did something,’ as per America’s vitriolic hate monger, @repilhan!” Lima-Taub wrote. “Those 19 Jihadi terrorists massacred over 3,000 innocent men and women, encroached on our constitutional rights and caused several billion in loss to dollars with the deliberate action to destabilize our economic stability.
“This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and we must never let the deaths of those who perished on 9/11 be in vain.”
Lima-Taub could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The town manager, mayor and police chief in Bay Harbor Islands declined to comment beyond the manager’s brief statement.
The Bay Harbor Islands police department’s social media policy prohibits any speech that “ridicules, maligns, disparages, or otherwise expresses bias against any gender, race, religion, or any protected class of individuals.”
Officers who violate the policy “shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of their employment,” the policy says.
Lima is one of 35 candidates who applied for the Bay Harbor Islands police chief job by the Jan. 15 deadline. The current police chief, Sean Hemingway, is voluntarily leaving his post and is a finalist for the chief position in Monument, Colorado.
According to his résumé, Lima spent over 30 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department, retiring as a lieutenant in 2017. He was the vice president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association from 2006 to 2018.
Lima has worked as an officer and corporal in Bay Harbor Islands for a year, according to a cover letter he submitted Tuesday.
“Throughout my 38 years of law enforcement experience my reputation has been impeccable!” Lima wrote. “I took the role (and still do!) of conducting myself ethically very seriously.”
Jimenez, the town manager, is responsible for selecting the next police chief. He did not immediately respond to a question about whether Lima is still in the running.
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