Family

Florida Mayor Calls Police ‘Pigs’ in Public

Moms, dads, citizens of all ages up in arms after remark is made within earshot of law enforcement

The mayor of Stuart, Florida, has resigned her elected position in the wake of a hateful and divisive remark she made in public about a city police officer.

The leader of the state’s Police Benevolent Association (PBA) asked Eula Clarke to step down after her comments, the Palm Beach Post reported. Clarke was overheard saying, “What are we serving, pig today?” She was at a grocery store within earshot of a Stuart police officer at the time, according to WPTV NewsChannel 5.

Once the remarks were known by the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, Mayor Clarke’s leadership role was in jeopardy.

The officer exited the store after the wholesale slap in the face by an elected official.

“Officer Fitzgerald had the grace and humility to depart the grocery store and then confer with his police union delegates and colleagues,” wrote Stephen Owsinski, a retired law enforcement officer, on the OpsLens website.

“Of course, one could plausibly argue that Mayor Clarke actually meant pieces of pork or whole parts of an actual pig,” Owskinski continued. “However, there were no such things for sale in the tiny store. Once the remarks became known to the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association, Mayor Clarke’s leadership role was in serious jeopardy. Actually, it was in trouble when she had the idea in the first place — and somehow felt it appropriate to unleash such a statement against the police institution.”

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Clarke announced her decision to step down during a commission meeting at City Hall. She will, however, remain on as a city commissioner. The city’s vice mayor, Tom Campenni, will take over as mayor. Clarke still faces an independent investigation over her comments, which may put her role as a city commissioner in jeopardy.

Clarke issued a statement during the commission meeting, saying, “Unfortunately I made a mistake,” Clarke said, according to WPTV. “We all make mistakes.”

The timing of Clarke’s apology does not indicate someone rushing to make amends for a “mistake.”

This was much more than a mistake. The remark, uttered in a public place within earshot of a current police officer, reveals what was in this official’s heart and mind in that moment — malice toward those who would lay down their lives to protect her, those in her community, and so many others, including parents and children.

Is this how the nation is to come together in the wake of 2016’s anti-police violence?

Healing starts in our small communities — and with the leadership of those in the public eye.

The timing of Clarke’s apology does not indicate someone rushing to make amends for a “mistake.”

Related: The Law Enforcement Problem Families Can Fix

“Although Mayor Clarke formally apologized on City of Stuart letterhead, it was dated January 27, 2017,” noted Owsinski in OpsLens. “That is 16 days after the remark was made … and only in response to Palm Beach County PBA president John Kazanjian, who publicized the Stuart mayor’s anti-police comment on his police union’s letterhead. Thereafter is when print and TV media came knocking, right after Mayor Clarke was outed for her disparaging comment.”

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