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LaWana Mayfield Reignites Controversy With Tweet Likening Police To Terrorists

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Nick de la Canal
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WFAE
LaWana Mayfield is a Democratic member of the Charlotte City Council. She represents district 3, which encompasses much of west Charlotte.

Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield is again drawing controversy over a social media post, this time for a tweet posted in March that equated police officers with "homegrown terrorists."

The tweet was posted March 26, one week after the police shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed 22-year-old African-American who was mistakenly identified by police in Sacramento as a suspect accused of breaking windows.

"Being Black in America under #45 has created homegrown terrorist wearing blue uniforms. #AReckoningIsComing," the tweet read.

Television station WSOC drew attention to the post this week, citing a number of anonymous Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who contacted the station with concerns about the post.

Mayfield, a Democrat who represents much of west Charlotte, responded to online criticism with a series of tweets Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  She first questioned whether her critics supported free speech, or the attacks on unarmed minorities.

Later, she published a lengthier defense, writing, "I have and continue to be one of the strongest supporters of law enforcement 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."

Councilmember Tariq Bokhari, who represents District 6 in the southern portion of Charlotte, responded to the tweet in a Facebook live Thursday afternoon.

In the video, Bokhari called the tweet “counterproductive” and said that it “is not reflective of how [he sees] the vast majority of the council viewing things.” He also said he doesn’t think Mayfield’s post is how the people of Charlotte feel.

“I don’t see that as how our city views our cops,” he said. “They deserve better than that.”

Bokhari also said he knows there are people who are frustrated with law enforcement in Charlotte, especially after the shooting of Keith Scott in September 2016. 

“We are working to hold our officers accountable,” Bokhari said, adding “we need to remember that [those instances] are exceptions to the rule. They’re not the rule.”

Bokhari went on to thank Charlotte law enforcement and told the public not to “let this further divide us.”

In an afternoon press conference Thursday, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney repeatedly described the tweet as “highly disappointing,” especially in the context of National Police Week, which is honoring the country’s law enforcement officers this week. 

“We’ve been talking about officers who win medals of merit for putting their lives on the line, and then to be put in a category like that,” Putney said. “Yeah, it’s hard to stomach.”

Putney also added that there should always be community accountability for law enforcement. 

Mayfield has previously come under fire for past social media posts. In April, she drew controversy over a Facebook post that suggested 9/11 may have been a conspiracy.

The post spurred an online petition calling for her resignation. As of early Thursday, the petition had drawn more than 1,500 signatures.

Mayfield later apologized on WCNC for any "hurt or pain" the Facebook post caused.

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