CA Mayor Resigns After Saying Police Have Never Killed A ‘Good Person Of Color’
According to PE’s report, Temecula Mayor James “Stew” Stewart resigned after it was discovered that he sent an email in which he stated he did not “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer.”
- His email was posted on social media and sent massive uproar through the Temecula area and beyond as people called for his resignation.
- Stewart claimed that it was a mistake, explaining that the word “good” was accidentally added to the text as he dictated his message.
“I sent a voice text last night to a person concerned about our police officers and their sensitivity training,” he wrote. “I am very well known for my dyslexia so I voice text everything. Unfortunately I did not take the time to proofread what was recorded. I absolutely did not say that. What I said is and I don’t believe there has ever been a person of color murdered by police, on context to Temecula or Riverside county. I absolutely did not say ‘good’ I have no idea how that popped up.”
- Stewart apologized Wednesday night in a post on Facebook’s Temecula Talk group, and said on Thursday that he was “referring to police actions in Temecula and the surrounding area, and that he ‘absolutely’ did not speak the word ‘good.’” He claimed that “when he composed the note, he could not remember a Temecula-area example of police fatally shooting a black person,” wrote PE.
- Following his resignation, Stewart said he would like to remain on the council and drop the mayor title that rotates among council members, but was unsure of whether he would be allowed to do so.
Stewart’s statement has led to massive uproar across Southern California.
- Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, who is a former Temecula mayor, said he was “disturbed” by Stewart’s comments.
“It would probably be appropriate for him to step down, at least as mayor,” Washington said. “He’s bringing a lot of hurt and harm to a lot of people through those words, and taking one word out of it doesn’t fix all of this.”
- The situation exacerbates civil unrest propelled by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Numerous protests have been going on around the Temecula region, including in Riverside, Corona, Moreno Valley, and other Inland cities.
- Pastor Willie Oliver, president of the Southwest Riverside County branch of the NAACP, said he would not comment at this time because “we don’t know the fullness of his statement.”
- Derek Webb, an African-American resident of Temecula, said he gives the mayor “the benefit of the doubt."
"He said sorry, it was an accident,” Webb continued. “He’s the only one who knows that. But whether you have the word ‘good’ in there or not, it doesn’t necessarily make it better.”
- However, according to PE, Webb added that he was disappointed that Stewart seemed to “brush off a question from a resident about what was being done in Temecula to prevent mistreatment of minorities by police.”
“My father has lived here for almost 20 years and I’m originally from southeast San Diego where police brutality and racism is not uncommon,” Webb wrote to Stewart on a Facebook post. “I recently moved here with my family on military orders because I thought out of all places Temecula would be well (past) this. Unfortunately seeing this post makes me uneasy.”
Stewart’s full original message states:
“As you know the City of Temecula does not have its own Police Department. We contract with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. And I don’t believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer. So I’m kind of confuse what you are looking for. Of course racism is not excepted or tolerated in the City of Temecula. Or any other of the surrounding areas that I know of for sure. I have several good friends who are African-Americans, and they love living here because how safe it is for them and their families.”