August 28, 2013

Local official rebuked for offensive Obama Web post

David Marsters, who is running for Sabattus town selectman, wrote the statement: 'Shoot the ...' followed by a racial slur.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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David Marsters

AP Photo/Lewiston Sun Journal

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Gilmore said the language called for a loud rebuke from the town so people around the state and the country understand that Marsters' statements do not reflect the opinions or attitudes of most people in Sabattus.

One longtime Sabattus resident, Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins, called Marsters' statement "deplorable."

"It's just another embarrassing situation for the town," he said. "We're better than that."

Although he found the comments offensive, Desjardins said, he wasn't surprised.

"He had said things before," Desjardins said of Marsters. "But he was a former police officer. He should have known better. I can't believe he didn't think this would become a big issue."

Desjardins said he disagreed publicly when Marsters proposed in March that the town require all Sabattus residents to possess guns.

Others in town Tuesday said they hadn't heard about Marsters' Facebook post and didn't feel comfortable talking about it. 

Marsters now serves on the town's charter commission, the budget committee, the ordinance review committee and a public works citizen advisory committee.

According to a profile he submitted to the Lewiston Sun Journal, he is married, has eight grandchildren and moved to Maine a few years ago because he and his wife couldn't afford Massachusetts housing prices on their pensions.

Marsters' Facebook page describes him as a retired police officer from Malden, Mass. He also is a veteran of the Navy and retired from the Massachusetts Army National Guard in 1995.

He has no criminal record in Maine, according to the State Bureau of Identification.

Marsters' Facebook page is his personal one, but many town residents and officials were able to see the post.

He said he has apologized for his statement but doesn't think he did anything wrong. He insisted that he would have made the same comment if the president were white.

"I'm not prejudiced," he said. "There's a lot of people in the white community I don't like either."

Marsters' previous Facebook posts suggest a strong dislike of Obama and his administration, and include links to many right-wing websites.

In one, he uses an expletive, followed by:  "... Obama and his communist crew. He has to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Another, written before November's presidential election, reads in part: "Everyone says he has to go, but guess what. ... (he) will be voted in again. So sad that people can be buffaloed by him. Maybe Seal Team 6 should look him up."

Seal Team 6 is the elite Navy unit that tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden.

Asked what bothers him about the president, Marsters said he believes Obama cannot speak without a Teleprompter and lacked experience before taking office.

He said he disagrees with the president's policies on immigration and the national debt, and said social programs like food stamps are overly generous.

The Facebook post that provoked the controversy could not be viewed by the public Tuesday, although some of Marsters' older posts could.

Screen shots of the Facebook page and ensuing dialogue that were sent to the town officials show some people responded immediately to Marsters' statement.

One said the First Amendment doesn't allow people to shoot the president or encourage someone else to do it.

Marsters' response was, "He is not a legal president."

For all the vitriol, Marsters has been a respectable town volunteer and has not expressed any strident political views, as far as Gilmore knows. "When he's on the road committee, they talk roads," he said.

Marsters made headlines in March when he proposed an ordinance to require every Sabattus resident to own a gun. On the advice of the police chief, selectmen voted 4-0 against sending the measure to voters.

The proposal was changed to a measure to prohibit the town from passing any laws that infringe on residents' Second Amendment rights. Voters approved that measure in June.

Marsters said he plans to continue his run for a seat on the Sabattus Board of Selectmen. He has taken out papers to run, and the deadline for submitting them is Sept. 23. Two seats are open and only one incumbent is running, he said.

"Sabattus voted for me, 2-1, for the ordinance," he said. "I'll probably top that now because I'm getting all this free publicity."

-- Staff Writer Eric Russell contributed to this report.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com 

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