By Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer
Just weeks after Charlotte councilwoman LaWana Mayfield ignited controversy for supporting a 9/11 conspiracy theory, she is on the defense for a tweet likening law enforcement officers to terrorists.
That tweet, sent March 26, said: “Being Black in America under #45 (Donald Trump) has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms.”
She expanded on her argument Thursday with a follow-up tweet alluding to police “corruption.”
“I have and continue to be one of the strongest supporters of law enforcement,” she tweeted, “but I will NOT turn a blind eye to corruption, assaults, and the killings of unarmed black & brown people. If you are offended by my comments and not the situation YOU need to re-evaluate.”
Criticism of her statement has continued for weeks but gained a higher profile this week when two Charlotte TV stations took notice. WSOC reported Wednesday that some officers are calling the message “inappropriate, especially as they are asking the City Council for a pay raise and are trying to recruit more officers.”
Mayfield, a Democrat who represents Charlotte’s west side, responded to the criticism on Twitter late Wednesday with a tone of defiance. “So YOU do NOT support Freedom of Speech? Or do YOU support the attacks on unarmed Black & Brown people????” she said in the tweet.
— LaWana Mayfield (@lawanamayfield) March 26, 2018
The message was directed at social media critics like Ryan Parker, who tweeted that she needed to step down from her role as a city leader.
“I don’t support calling police officers terrorists. And I don’t support 9/11 conspiracy theorists,” Parker tweeted.
Another critic, Jani Cho, said Mayfield’s March 26 tweet was “extreme” for applying the word terrorist to “someone who puts their lives on the line for the citizens of this city.”
Calls for Mayfield’s resignation also erupted in mid-April, when she posted a Facebook link to an article on 9/11 conspiracy theories. She added the comment: “I am still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane that opened the doors for US citizens to lose all privacy rights.”
So YOU do NOT support Freedom of Speech? Or do YOU support the attacks on unarmed Black & Brown people????
— LaWana Mayfield (@lawanamayfield) May 16, 2018
That tweet drew criticism from across the country, including condemnation from people who said they were related to 9/11 victims. Mayfield responded by suggesting the criticism had “racial overtones.”
A petition calling for her resignation was launched on Change.org and it had more than 1,500 signers early Thursday.
Mayfield said she would not resign over the 9/11 tweet, but apologized April 22 during an interview on the WCNC show “Flashpoint” for the “hurt and pain” her comments may have caused.