LaWana Mayfield is confused. The Charlotte City Council member doesn’t see terrorists where they are and does see them where they aren’t. Then she casts those who disagree with her as being racist or opposed to freedom of speech.
It’s an embarrassment to Charlotte. Mayor Vi Lyles and the City Council should censure their colleague.
Mayfield, a four-term council member who represents much of Charlotte’s west side, sparked national outrage last month when she questioned the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a Facebook post. She linked to an article on 9/11 conspiracy theories and said, “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.”
Aspects of the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks can certainly be questioned, including the effects on Americans’ privacy. But to suggest that no plane hit the World Trade Center towers is an affront to the victims’ families and all Americans, and patently false.
Now, Mayfield is igniting new controversy with her tweet calling police officers terrorists.
“Being Black in America under #45 [Donald Trump] has created homegrown terrorist [sic] wearing blue uniforms. #AReckoningIsComing,” the tweet said.
It is entirely inappropriate, offensive and inaccurate for a City Council member to call police officers homegrown terrorists. Police must be held to the highest of standards, and tragically in recent years there has been no shortage of horrific police shootings of citizens, frequently unarmed black men. All people, of all races, should recognize the unacceptable level of police misconduct in America today.
They should also recognize the courage, sacrifice and dedication that 99.9 percent of officers display daily. For a City Council member (who represents some of the most crime-plagued areas of our city) to ignore that and label officers terrorists is revolting.
Mayfield also foments distrust between the community and police. Officers already face enough of that in this city and particularly in some of the neighborhoods Mayfield represents. She should be trying to build trust there, not tear it down. She also worsens the relationship between police and the City Council, which is considering a CMPD budget that officers already regarded as insufficient.
Mayfield’s misguided pronouncements are made worse by her response when they elicit the predictable response from the community. Instead of recognizing the hurt she has caused, she digs in. In both cases, she labels others’ disagreement as a violation of her free speech rights, revealing how little she understands about the First Amendment too. She also suggests those who disagree with her are racist, and doubled down in the latest episode by saying she will not ignore “corruption” in police departments.
Lyles and most of Mayfield’s other Democratic colleagues have been notably silent about Mayfield’s pronouncements, leaving open the possibility they agree with them or at least aren’t bothered by them. They should speak out, reprimanding Mayfield and making clear she does not represent the council’s views.