Michigan official resists calls to resign over repeated use of N-word

An elected official in Michigan refuses to resign after facing criticism for racist language.

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During a public meeting, a Republican official in Michigan used racist language to defend his decision to not wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle is being pressured to resign after he blamed Black people for the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Detroit Free Press.

“Well this whole thing is because of them n——s down in Detroit,” the commissioner boldly remarked.

The comments were allegedly made before the meeting began but although they are not on the official record, Detroit Free Press reports confirmation of his using the slur by two commission members. Road Commission Chairman Bob Joyce responded by telling Eckerle the language was not appropriate.

He replied to the chairman “I can say anything I want,” according to Detroit Free Press.

He also remarked, “Black Lives Matter has everything to do with taking the country away from us.”

Joyce tells local news platform the Leelanau Enterprise “there’s just no room for that kind of language here” and that he “won’t tolerate any kind of racism in our meeting room or in our organization,” according to Detroit Free Press.

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He is not alone for his intolerance of Eckerle’s behavior. State Representative Jack O’Malley spoke with the disgraced commissioner in private and urged him to resign. According to a Facebook post, the representative says Eckerle stands on his statements and refuses to back down.

He continues to provide the next steps in having the commissioner forcibly removed.

Dawud Walid,  Executive Director for the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also called for Eckerle to step down.

“We call for the immediate resignation of Mr. Eckerle from his position in Leelanau County because of his racist comments,” Walid says in a statement according to Detroit Free Press.

He continues, “dropping the N-word, along with falsely claiming that police accountability activists who are American citizens are taking the country away, is discourse that that must be repudiated by all public officials.”

Eckerle doubled down on his use of the n-word. During an interview with Interlochen Public Radio, he said “I don’t regret calling it an n—-r,” and continued, “a n—-r is a n—-r is a n—-r. That’s not a person whatsoever.”

On July 5, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared racism a public health crisis in the state, confirming the disparities were highlighted by COVID-19.

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