Late last week, South Florida social media users began circulating a screen cap that appeared to show Florida City Vice Mayor Sharon Butler sharing what looked to be a conspiracy theory about the recent shootings in Dallas, in which five police officers were killed by a sniper.
"The government killed those cops," she wrote, at least according to the image. "And they're trying to get you to blame the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement so that we can be further DIVIDED. DO NOT BE PLAYED FOR A FOOL." The post then goes on for a number of stanzas.
But when New Times asked Butler why she shared the post, she claimed she had "no idea" what we were talking about and then insinuated someone either hacked her account or photoshopped the words under her name maliciously.
"Sir, this is my first time even hearing this," she said. "I know nothing about it, and I can’t comment about something I don't know." We then read the post to her in its entirety:
"Oh my God," she said. "I had nothing to do with it. That is not my writing. That is not me. That’s the most I can say. I did not write that."
Though the screen shot shows the words were posted publicly, the post is no longer on Butler's page.
But it appears the words were not originally Butler's — on July 9, Facebook user Jonathan Xavier Colon took credit for the rant, and it seems the words themselves have gone viral since then.
It's been a weird week for Florida officials on social media: This past Friday, New Times reported that outspoken Miami Police union chief Javier Ortiz said the controversial shooting of Baton Rouge's Alton Sterling was "more than justified."
New Times discovered Butler's post after it was published on the local blog Eye on Miami. Nancy Lee, who posted the image under the screen name Genius of Despair, said a friend sent her the screen cap after noticing the post at "10 or 11 o'clock at night."
"I think she posted it and then maybe changed her mind the next day and deleted it," Lee said via phone.
But Butler is adamant: "I use my Facebook page to advertise my family and friends and my Easter-egg hunt," she said. "That is not my line of thinking; that is not me. I don’t know who did that. I’m a very peaceful person; I'm not into chaos."
Asked if she had any enemies or could think of anyone who would try to sabotage her with a post like this, Butler said no.
"The last thing I want is my name used in a negative way," she said.