The constant whirlwind of awfulness that’s been 2020 has had a good chunk of us feeling like this pear. I, like most of you, am simply exhausted. If it’s not the steady stream of seeing black bodies being brutalized, it’s white people coming out their mouths to say, just, the dumbest shit.
Take for example Temecula Mayor James Stewart who, according to KTLA, wrote in an email that he didn’t “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer.”
*takes long, heavy, sigh*
Stewart, who’s dyslexic, uses speech-to-text software to write his email. He says it malfunctioned and he didn’t notice the word “good” had been added to his sentence. He initially apologized for the error and asked for forgiveness.
“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 said in an interview with the Riverside Press-Enterprise on Thursday. He said he was responding to a concern about the Temecula police force and their sensitivity training.
By Thursday evening, Stewart had announced on Facebook that he would be resigning as mayor.
So taking this at face value as a technological error, let’s examine Stewart’s intended response. Temecula is a city that has a population of about 115,000 with black people being 5 percent of that number. In Riverside County, where Temecula is located, that number increases to 7 percent of just under 2.5 million people. The Press-Enterprise found that a Department of Justice database showed that black people made up 18 percent of people who died at the hands of law enforcement in Riverside County from 2010-2018. If we extend it to “people of color,” as the mayor said, two months ago a Mexican man was killed by police in Riverside County.
Clearly, the (former) mayor doesn’t keep track of what goes on in his own backyard
No matter how you cut it, Stewart was in the wrong. This incident only further highlights the role elected officials play in allowing the problem of police brutality to continue. If they don’t “believe” there’s a problem, then how can they be expected to solve it?