CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield is again under fire for comments she made on social media.
In March, Mayfield tweeted that “Being Black in American under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms” in response to the police shooting of Stephon Clark.
Clark was fatally shot in his grandmother’s backyard following a police pursuit in Sacramento, Calif. on March 18. Police body cameras captured the chase and an officer apparently shouting “gun” moments before Clark was shot. The gun officers thought Clark was carrying turned out to be a cellphone.
Now, the members of the law enforcement community believe it's time for her to step down from the city council.
"I think she probably needs to. She needs to remove herself or she needs to at least step back and re-evaluate. She needs to think about what she's saying and what repercussions of her actions and her words are having on law enforcement," said Mark Michalec, President of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chief Kerr Putney wouldn't go so far as to say Mayfield should resign, but he did say her comparison of police officers to terrorists is "hard to stomach."
"That is not my position to take," Putney said. "I'm merely a police chief who responds to the city manager who also is accountable to this community.
"Here's what I'm telling you. This is a tough week for us already. It's hard for us to recruit, it's hard for us to retain, and then it's almost hypocritical to say that we want you to be diverse and then you layer on allegations that paint us with a black brush."
In April, Mayfield apologized on NBC Charlotte's FlashPOINT for sharing a 9/11 conspiracy theory on her Facebook page. Mayfield faced immediate criticism for the social media post, even sparking nationwide outrage and calls for her resignation.
"I apologize for the hurt and pain that was created," Mayfield said.
The post linked to an article suggesting a “controlled demolition” took down the World Trade Center’s towers instead of two hijacked commercial airplanes. A petition on Change.org garnered over 1,200 signatures calling for Mayfield's resignation.
Here is the FOP's full statement in response to Mayfield's March 26 tweet:
I’m sure you have anticipated a response from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9 regarding your comments made on March 26th, 2018 stating “Being Black in America under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms. #AReckoningIsComing”.
I would like to know your intention for distributing that message through social media. What exactly did you intend to gain from such a ridiculous statement? Please, educate me!
Being the President of Charlotte Mecklenburg FOP Lodge #9 and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer for almost twenty-four years I understand that I am held to a higher standard than other citizens. My actions AND words are critically analyzed every single minute of my day. You need to be held to just as high of a standard as I am. You were elected as a City of Charlotte leader.
FOP Lodge #9 has been working tirelessly over the past several months to work with Charlotte City Council to improve the compensation and benefits of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers. With the release of this statement by you, it takes away from the focus that we have worked on so hard to bring forward.
To make this incident even more unbearable, I heard about this yesterday while traveling back from Washington, DC after participating in the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Service. During a time when we focus on Peace Officers who gave their lives for the citizens, community, and Country I am forced to respond to this statement.
Are you seriously labeling all Peace Officers as terrorists? If so, you are also classifying all those Peace Officers, their parents, spouses, children, and relatives as terrorists. To say the least, you have upset the entire law enforcement community on this ridiculous statement. We are a family and when offended, we are all offended.
I would love to discuss this with you further and invite you to one of our membership meetings. We hold meetings on the first Tuesday of each month with the next one being Tuesday June 5th, 2018 at 6:00 pm.
Here are some more tweets from Mayfield on Thursday night in response to the fallout.
On Thursday night, Mayfield skipped CMPD's annual awards ceremony. A source told NBC Charlotte this is the first time she's missed the event in years. Police were told that she was planning on attending.
Other members of city council went to the ceremony, like Braxton Winston, who said Mayfield is simply exercising her First Amendment right.
“Are we going to talk about her reaction or are we going to talk about, honestly, there are other people who share that view. How are we going to bridge that gap?“ Winston asked.
NBC Charlotte's Mark Boyle and Evan West contributed to this report.