Polk County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Deputy’s Islamophobic Facebook Posts

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Dan Charleston/Twitter

On Tuesday, an Iowa activist pointed Facebook followers to a pair of recent posts by Dan Charleston, a controversial deputy sergeant in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, disparaging Muslims as extremists and terrorists.

The first post, which is still up, quotes right-wing evangelist Franklin Graham, an outspoken critic of Islam, warning of the “dangers of the teachings of Islam” without acknowledging that the vast majority of Muslims do not support extremism.

charleston1

The second message, posted Monday at 8:09 p.m. and since deleted or hidden from public view, claimed Muslims have “no desire for assimilation to our Constitutional Law and only sharia” and asked how adherents of the faith who said they were peaceful were “combating this mentality happening in the United States.” “No reasoning with this evil ideology,” Charleston concluded. His thoughts appear above an image highlighting “Verses from the Qur’an that Inspire Terrorists” that were taken out of context by an anti-Islam organization.

dan-charleston-1

“[H]ow can I or anyone in my community … trust someone who hold[s] islamphobic and bias[ed] views to protect us?” the activist asked in their Facebook post.

“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is very concerned with the messages posted on social media and [we] are conducting an internal investigation regarding the situation,” the office’s public information officer, Rich Blaylock, told the Informer. “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has received two complaints regarding the social media postings by one of our employees. We, as a law enforcement agency proudly serving a community of all faiths and backgrounds, work hard to be seen as fair and impartial.”

For years, Charleston, a Republican, has feuded with Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy, a Democrat. He has twice challenged McCarthy for sheriff, losing by wide margins both times. He has also sued him three times for alleged discrimination and retaliation, accusing McCarthy of targeting him for challenging him in the elections and refusing to investigate how Des Moines Register columnist Rehka Basu got a hold of an internal report that said Charleston had been biased against women he supervised and showed favoritism to other employees under him. One lawsuit accused McCarthy of “engaging in willful and malicious conduct toward Dan including but not limited to referring to Dan as dangerous, cancerous, [and as] radical as one can get” — which, considering Charleston’s recent Facebook posts, isn’t impossible to imagine McCarthy saying. One of the lawsuits was dismissed. Two others remain active in US district court.*

Charleston was previously fired before McCarthy was sheriff, after another internal investigation beginning in 2004 and concerning a dispute he had with a woman sergeant in the office, but his termination was overturned by the Polk County Civil Service Commission.

Last summer, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office also launched an investigation into an employee’s bigoted social media posts after the Informer reported that Alan Blaylock, a 20-year-old jailer making $18.97 an hour on the taxpayers’ dime, told a woman she wouldn’t have to worry about police murdering people of color if they just stopped calling them, called another woman a “bitch,” referred to someone else as a “fagboy ass nigga,” commented that Mexicans should speak English in public, and joked that Walmart customers smelled worse than the inmates he oversaw. Blaylock kept his job, receiving undisclosed discipline and retaking mandatory sensitivity and diversity training.


Correction: This article initially stated that the lawsuits Charleston filed against McCarthy had been dismissed. In fact, one of the three suits was dismissed but two others remain active in US district court.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.
  • Phillip Davis

    What Dan posted is honest and truth, hence the libs and the Muslims being upset. They don’t want the “Game Plan” put out to the public. That way they can do their work SLOWLY infiltrating our society.

  • Wesley K. Brown

    I am not sure why he is being investigated? Nothing is factual wrong, nor is it disparaging to islam… its in their source material. If the author of this piece picked up a quran, hadith or the book reliance of the traveler (sharia law), he would see everything Dan wrote about is accurate… Sorry it hurts your snowflake occupy wallstreet senses but its a fact.

  • Suzy Adams

    Yes, the Quran says “Unbelievers are stupid,” and “Kill them in your neighborhood.” that’s how God talks. Like a fucking 5th grader.

    I hope your bigoted ass doesn’t actually live in my state.

  • Suzy Adams

    They’ve literally been here as long as Englishmen have been here, so yeah, I’d say they’re playing the slow game, lmao. Idiot.

  • Kristin Beattie

    Yes. I felt a thought the same thing Wesley. This invesitgation sounds pretty bias considering the current Sheriff is salvating at the mouth to hear of anything he can use to get rid of Charleston lately. It’s getting really old!

  • Kristin Beattie

    This actually made me like Dan Charleston more 😉

  • Michael Johanson

    There is only one God.. And he has nothing to do with that book.Considering the country of origin and even now the education of most = 3rd graders.. Its quite plausible. and the book does spell it out like that, damn near an instruction manual.

  • Kristin Beattie

    May I ask…… since when did an officer ask a person when pulled over for their license, registration proof of insurance and religion? It’s okay, I’ll wait. How in the world could one claim bias in protecting unless they are claiming one can tell by merely looking at someone that they are Muslim or support and practice Islam?

  • RegularJoe

    Is that because you suffer from Islamophobia or do you simply hate the Freedoms I served to preserve?

  • Daniel

    That’s why I am terrified of Christians. They are somehow convinced their religion has no blood on its hands. Very naive.

  • RegularJoe

    There are literally thousands of gods. Also, Islam is an Abrahamic faith, same with Christianity and Judaism – they share the same god.
    You may want to learn about this stuff before posting….less embarrassing for you that way.

  • RegularJoe

    Sounds like someone doesn’t understand “honest” and “truth”….also “decency”.

  • Kristin Beattie

    Neither of which you stated as options describe my reasoning. Next question or assumption please..?..!!

  • Kristin Beattie

    I take offense to your comments…especially your assumptions. Maybe an article should be written about you.. let me quess you must be a journalist… Just as bias as the one that wrote this article.

  • Pat Huffman

    Just another example of the Demotards and the LibTards inability to accept the cold hard truth.
    We’ve been battling Muslims and Islam and the EVIL it represents since the days of Thomas Jefferson!!!

  • jess123

    Kristin, good grief you’re stupid.

  • Pat Huffman

    Polk County has become infested with Politically Correct Liberal Scum, aside being a Sanctuary County.

  • Kristin Beattie

    Typical liberal response. Name calling.

  • RegularJoe

    Your mother is a politically correct liberal? That’s nice.

  • RegularJoe

    You take offense? Gosh golly, I’m so terribly sorry. The last thing I want to do is offend someone in your condition. I will pray for you, asking Yahweh/God/Allah to save you from your bondage of congenital coproencephaly.

  • Phil Roe

    What a load of left wing, anti-first amendment crap. This is nothing but a politically driven witch hunt by Sheriff “Sanctuary City” McCarthy because Dan dares to oppose McCarthy’s left wing agenda in Polk County.

    If we now live in an “Amerika” where people are not free to express their feelings and words regarding ANY subject . . . then we are doomed to enslavement by tyrants.

  • Phil Roe

    LOL!!! it is almost as if you believe that Islam does not have a 1,400 year history of human butchery and devastation in its wake . . .

  • Dan Charleston
  • George Rip Kucharo

    Shame on you for attacking a Deputy Sheriff for expressing his factual views. Another witch hunt meant to silence those who speak the truth.

  • George Rip Kucharo

    We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretentions to make war upon Nations who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.
    The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
    That it was a law that the first who boarded an Enemy’s Vessell should have one slave, more than his share with the rest, which operated as an incentive to the most desperate Valour and Enterprise, that it was the Practice of their Corsairs to bear down upon a ship, for each sailor to take a dagger in each hand and another in his mouth, and leap on board, which so terrified their Enemies that very few ever stood against them, that he verily believed the Devil assisted his Countrymen, for they were almost always successful. We took time to consider and promised an answer, but we can give him no other, than that the demands exceed our Expectations, and that of Congress, so much that we can proceed no further without fresh instructions.
    There is but one possible way that we know of to procure the money, if Congress should authorize us to go to the necessary expence, and that is to borrow it in Holland. We are not certain it can be had there. But if Congress should order us to make the best terms we can with Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers and Morocco, and to procure this money wherever we can find it, upon terms like those of the last loan in Holland, our best endeavours shall be used to remove this formidable obstacle out of the way of the prosperity of the United States. — Letter from John Adams to John Jay, 28 March, 1786

  • George Rip Kucharo
  • Pat Huffman

    Here’s the Deal .
    We are see this in Europe and we are starting to see it in the United States .
    Muslims and the radical Islamic community want to stifle free speech .
    And these liberal democratic cowards that run Polk County government Are so afraid of offending somebody they are Willing to bend over and grab their ankles for these groups rather that show some backbone and stand up for what is right

  • Jo Johnsonn

    So much hate coming from Nadia Ali’s page. Seems very hypocritical.

  • Suzy Adams

    The first amendment does not protect your right to a job, stupid, it just means you can’t be arrested or prosecuted.

  • Suzy Adams

    Agreed.

    I come from a family of alcoholics, but some very sweet people (all Muslims) invited me to be a part of their family. They were there for me when my real family wasn’t. They mean everything to me.

    and now I’m afraid for their safety in polk county.

  • Suzy Adams

    Well, let’s see, I guess he could spout a bunch of bullshit on facebook about how he thinks muslims are evil. That would probably show some kind of anti-muslim bias.

  • Suzy Adams

    It’s because she’s islamophobic lol. I’m sure she doesn’t give a fuck that you served.
    Thank you for your service, though.

  • Suzy Adams

    No. They don’t. Next.

  • Suzy Adams

    Yeah, I mean, since the Americans were ENSLAVING African peoples, there’s no chance that American politicians had any kind anti-African bias or anything.

    I wrote a letter that the earth is flat, if you want I’ll send it to you so you can cite that as an accurate source in your geographical debates.

  • it’s my opinion

    2 people complained so now a witch hunt takes place to try and ruin Charleston. Isn’t this the same way a lot of our rights are taken away because only 1 or 2 people complain and we have to change things right away to accomodate them? There could be thousands for something but, if there are l or 2 complainers, it doesn’t matter. We cater to the lesser number. If we continue to go down that path, no one will have any rights anymore.

  • it’s my opinion

    Let me get this straight. 2 people complained about these facebook messages so we immediately go into a witch hunt against Dan Charleston? Isn’t that a lot of the reason that so many rights and things we love as Americans are taken away from us? We have watched while prayers have been taken away, crosses have been removed, people’s lives have been destroyed because one or 2 people complain. My opinion is that there is something far deeper than these complaints that has started this whole thing. We still have freedom of speech in our country. This keeps up and we are going to lose it. I hope the Sherif’s office will reconsider and do the right thing. Thanks.

    .

  • nanaof6

    How do you take what the Qur’an says in black and white out of context? It clearly states that any who do not agree are to be killed. Is every single Muslim walking around extremist? No but to put your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist is crazy! Dan speaks truth. Tell me why everyone else can haves freedom of speech unless you are a Christian or Conservative?

  • RegularJoe

    Her ilk generally doesn’t respect our Constitution and its defenders.

  • RegularJoe

    So, about 600 years less than Christianity. Got it.

  • RegularJoe

    The guy is a bigot. Screw him.

  • RegularJoe

    Still a bigot.

  • nanaof6

    Typical liberal response. You disagree with them and you are islamicphobe, racist, homophobic ect…. it’s sad Joe that you feel your opinion is the only one that matters. And you obvious know nothing about preserving freedoms if that is how you talk. And before you flap your gums…yes, I know plenty about preserving freedoms.

  • RegularJoe

    You can express, no one is stopping you. But do understand that all speech has potential consequences.
    Dan the bigot is free to express his views. We get to express ours, too. Here’s mine: Screw that guy.

  • nanaof6

    I feel for you. You have no clue. Tell your sob story to the families who lost loved ones in London. Or the many terrorist attacks here in America. People say “but they have always been around” and that is true but technology has not been. Our borders that were once safer are not. And people have grown more gullible and easier to control. Wake up people.

  • nanaof6

    #Isupportdan

  • RegularJoe

    Not a “typical liberal response”, dude….just a typical *decent American* response. I’m sorry you’re not familiar with that.
    You’re sadly mistaken, guy, about my opinion being the only one that matters. I know that *all* opinions matter: some because they’re decent, and some (such as yours) because of how obscene they are. I want you to speak your piece – I want to know who the bigoted scum are that walk among us.
    And no, buddy, you have no idea what the price is for freedom.
    Run along now, I’m sure your Kleagle is waiting to give you further instructions.

  • nanaof6

    Lol…. You truly are an idiot. I think your opinions are very bigoted and hateful. What happened to you that you are such a hypocritical pig? And by the way Moron, I am female…thus the name Nana. SMH… You are sexist if you think only a man can know what fighting for freedom means.

  • Suzy Adams

    He never, at any point, implied that he feels only a man can know what fighting for freedom means. You’re the one tossing around unevidenced accusations of bias.

  • nanaof6

    By automatically assuming I am male he most certainly did imply that. And you most definitely have the most hateful biased comments. I feel for you. Alcoholism is a horrible thing and may have contributed to your hate you carry around and your gullibility of being sucked in…

  • Jo Johnsonn

    So they are obviously editing comments…. the people who filed the complaints have facebook pages that are full of hateful comments, proving their hypocritical view points have no merit

  • Michael Zellhart

    First wave of Muslim immigration in America wasn’t until the late 1800’s. Yes there were some here before that, but not a significant number.

  • Suzy Adams

    No, he didn’t, and tolerating intolerance is not tolerance. I don’t appreciate your fake sympathy. The hardships I’ve endured made me a stronger, better person, fyi, so you can take your assumption and stick it up your ass.

  • Suzy Adams

    I’ve read the Qur’an. No it doesn’t.

  • roccolore

    There is no such thing as “Islamophobia”.

  • roccolore

    Democrats are the bigots and KKK.

  • roccolore

    Liberals would rather support Sharia than the Constitution.

  • roccolore

    Liberals are the bigots who side with CAIR.

  • roccolore

    Liberals are the bigots who side with ISIS.

  • roccolore

    Certain European countries have “hate crime laws” where people have been arrested for criticizing your jihadist buddies.

  • roccolore

    Yet you defend Omar Mateen.

  • roccolore

    Muslims spew hatred all the time and no one says anything.

  • roccolore

    Bigot liberals are more outraged over a Facebook post than the murders of 23 concertgoers.

  • Suzy Adams

    Are you high? A man recently stabbed two people to death because he hated Muslims so much.

  • Suzy Adams

    Did you read the article? It flat out says the shared information is fake. Why don’t you actually read the Qur’an instead of just believing what you’re told all the time?

  • roccolore

    Muslims killed 23 Copts, but no one talks about Christianophobia.

  • nanaof6

    Ummm….yes it does. You are in denial. You have only read bits and pieces or just read what you wanted. Its pretty clear.

  • RegularJoe

    Gee, they are? Gosh, I don’t know any of them, nor anyone who is “more outraged” over a FB post than a suicide bombing.

  • RegularJoe

    I suppose there’s no such thing as aluminum, either.

  • RegularJoe

    I don’t know any liberals who support Daesh. You might be projecting…look into it.

  • RegularJoe

    Of course I side with CAIR, and all peaceful groups. You support the KKK, so I suppose we balance each other out.

  • roccolore

    CAIR is the Muslim KKK. CAIR is an apologist for jihadist groups.

  • RegularJoe

    Not even close, buddy. I don’t know where you’re getting your Alternative Facts™, but you really need better sources.

  • RegularJoe

    #BecauseYouAreClueless

  • RegularJoe

    Actually, many people talk about that. All the Muslims I know speak out against such violence.

  • Renee Johnson

    This country was founded on freedom of religion. That means that people are free to practice their religion. If you don’t agree with their religion, STFU. If you are judging based on their religion instead of who they are, YOU are the problem, not them.

  • Michael John Pennell

    stop hiding from the facts,, islam belongs in the middle east > it coincides with sharia law,, and does not belong in any other population,, islam is a radical religion .. im not phobic im just smart enough to know the truth,,

  • Michael Johanson

    Its called faith. and You obviously do not have it,

    “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is one of the Ten Commandments found in the Hebrew Bible (לא יהיה־לך אלהים אחרים על־פני; Exodus 20:3 = Deuteronomy 5:7).[1]

    This commandment establishes the exclusive nature of the relationship between the nation of Israel and its national god, Yahweh the god of Israel,[2] a covenant initiated by Yahweh after delivering the Israelites from slavery through the plagues of Egypt and the Exodus.[3]

    In a general sense, idolatry is the paying of divine honor to any created thing.[4] In ancient times, opportunities to participate in the honor or worship of other deities abounded. However, according to the Book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites were strictly warned to neither adopt nor adapt any of the religious practices of the peoples around them.[5] Nevertheless, the story of the people of Israel until the Babylonian Captivity
    is the story of the violation of the first commandment by the worship
    of “foreign gods” and its consequences. Much of biblical preaching from
    the time of Moses to the exile is predicated on the either-or choice between exclusive worship of God and false gods.[6]
    The Babylonian exile seems to have been a turning point after which the
    Jewish people as a whole were strongly monotheistic and willing to
    fight battles (such as the Maccabean Revolt) and face martyrdom before
    paying homage to any other god.[7]

    The Shema
    and its accompanying blessing/curse reveals the intent of the
    commandment to include love for the one, true God and not only
    recognition or outward observance.[8] In the gospels, Jesus quotes the Shema as the first and greatest commandment,[9]
    and the apostles after him preached that those who would follow Christ
    must turn from idols. The Catholic Catechism as well as Reformation and
    post-Reformation theologians teach that the commandment applies in
    modern times and prohibits the worship of physical idols, the seeking of
    spiritual activity or guidance from any other source (e.g. magical,
    astrological, etc.), and the focus on temporal priorities such as self
    (food, physical pleasures), work, and money, for examples.[10]
    The Catholic Catechism commends those who refuse even to simulate such
    worship in a cultural context, since “the duty to offer God authentic
    worship concerns man both as an individual and as a social being.”[11]

  • Daniel

    I mean, approximately the same bloody history as Christianity. Arguably Christianity has a bloodier history.