One Mayor Steps Down, Three Other Electeds Under Fire for Comments About George Floyd Protests
One California mayor has stepped down and at least three other elected officials are facing calls to resign over comments or social media posts related to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Temecula Mayor James “Stew” Steward relinquished his post Thursday after a shocking email reply to a resident was posted online. The resident had asked what the city intends to do about implicit bias and violent policing. Steward replied that he doesn’t “believe any good person of color has been killed by police.”
Steward claims the email was sent by voice-text and that he failed to read the words his phone misconstrued before he hit send. He apologized for an “off-the-cuff response to an email on a serious topic.”
“My whole goal was to bring the council to the people. I was always on Facebook, always communicating with the residents about what was happening — the good, the bad and the indifferent,” he said.
The mayor of Mill Valley, Sashi McEntee, is also under fire for suggesting the Black Lives Matter movement was "not of immediate local importance" to her city during a Council meeting last week. The reactions from the online community were swift. An online petition calling for her ouster has been signed by more than 8,600 people. McEntee has since apologized.
Simi Valley City Councilman Mike Judge’s troubles began with a gross meme he posted to Facebook. “Wanna stop the riots?” it said. “Mobilize the septic tank trucks, put a pressure cannon on 'em, and hose 'em down. The end."
Judge later removed the meme. He also deleted a comment to a black Simi Valley resident in which he said he’d be “hard pressed to find one example of a truly peaceful protest.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, police groups are furious with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti for comments he made about the LAPD budget. The conversation about policing must start somewhere “or we’re going to continue being the killers that we are,” the mayor told members of an African American church. The Los Angeles Police Protective League responded by calling Garcetti “unstable.”
“He smeared every single police officer in Los Angeles and across the nation by calling us killers,” said union board member Jamie McBride.
Garcetti says his comments were not about police officers, but about society at large and its collective failure to address high black mortality rates.
A reminder to elected officials everywhere: Words matter. Tweets matter. Memes matter. Think before you speak — or share.