Dearborn worker apologizes for controversial social media post
A part-time Dearborn worker who drew ire over a comment posted on a local TV station's Facebook page aimed at Muslims has apologized, said an attorney representing him.
Bill Larion, a surveyor in the city's Engineering Department, met early Tuesday with Dearborn police, which had been investigating the source of the remarks on a WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) report about a Muslim woman appearing in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue wearing a burkini, lawyer Ed Zelenak said.
Larion gave a written apology and answered officers' questions about the "spur of the moment" post, which he sent on his phone soon after learning of the story through friends during a tennis match, said Zelenak, who accompanied him to the meeting.
"He was forthright, straightforward," said Zelenak, whom Larion contacted after Ch. 7 sought comment for a story on the post. "I saw hard evidence of remorse when he was with the Police Department. He feels awful. … He realizes he offended a large group of people."
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported that the post, attributed to Larion, said the model's photo should grace "camels are us."
Larion claimed he deleted his account within a half-hour when he realized the post "was incredibly stupid," said Zelenak, who accompanied him to the Police Department. "His position is: He thought it was funny. It was something that was impulsive and he realized he made a mistake doing it."
The 58-year-old's apology was turned over to city human resource officials, Zelenak said. It is unclear if Larion, who was ordered to return to work Tuesday, faced discipline, he added.
Mary Laundroche, a spokeswoman for the city, did not respond to a request for comment on his status.
On Monday, Mayor Jack O'Reilly said he had "zero tolerance for the type of language used in the Facebook comment."
CAIR Michigan had called on the city to fire Larion.