People are calling on a Pennsylvania county commissioner to resign after he called the Black Lives Matter movement a “radical left-wing hate group,” the New York Post reports.
Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale clapped back at those urging him to resign, saying he has no plans to step away from his role.
“This organization, in particular, screams racism not to expose bigotry and injustice, but to justify the lawless destruction of our cities and surrounding communities,” Gale said in a statement Monday. “Their objective is to unleash chaos and mayhem without consequence by falsely claiming they, in fact, are the victims.”
He said members of the organization were part of people who rioted, looted and committed “urban domestic terror” during weekend protests in Philadelphia.
People have been protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a white police officer. Some demonstrations have turned violent and destructive. The Black Lives Matter movement was created on social media after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in 2013. It gained traction after several black men were killed by police officers.
Gale, a Republican, also claimed the “radical left” demonize police officers.
“As a result of this defamation and character assassination, as well as a complicit media constantly pushing the bogus narrative of systemic police brutality and white racism, law enforcement is afraid to do their job of protecting innocent people and their property,” Gale wrote.
After he made his comments, people began calling on him to leave his post, according to NBC Philadelphia. An online petition calling for his resignation was signed by more than 76,000 people.
Philadelphia 76ers player Tobias Harris called for Gale to step down Tuesday in a tweet.
“I honestly can’t believe what I’m reading,” Harris tweeted. “Black Lives Matter a hate group?! This statement and your whole press release at that is disgusting to read. RESIGN!”
On Wednesday, Gale defended himself and told the network that he “will not be bullied and pushed around for speaking the truth” and exercising his First Amendment rights.
He called the petition meaningless and also downplayed the NBA star’s opinion saying he hasn’t watched the Sixers “since Allen Iverson left.”
“The online petition calling for my resignation is a tool to silence me and those I speak for and consists of left-wing activists signers from all over the nation," Gale said of the petition. "It’s no reflection of the voters who elected and re-elected me."
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