Sharon Weston Broome Delivers An Overdue Stinging Rebuke To Gary Chambers

In a notable reversal of sentiment, Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued an open letter decrying the divisiveness of certain people who “would attempt to take us down a path of strife and contentiousness.”

Here’s the letter…

Clearly it has to be a reaction to this…

What’s interesting is how people misinterpreted Broome’s statements. For example, the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Stephanie Riegel had a different target in mind

The letter comes two weeks after the U.S. Justice Department announced it will not bring civil rights charges against the police officers involved in the 2016 shooting death of Alton Sterling, which immediately led to protests and highlighted racial tensions in the city.

Though the community weathered the announcement without a repeat of last year’s demonstrations, Broome has been criticized by some for taking what is perceived to be an antagonistic position against the police union and Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr., whom she said during her campaign she intended to replace.

She has also taken hits for the mishandling of hiring a chief administrative officer and for comments she has made about her opposition to the St. George incorporation effort, which is expected to get under way again later this year.

Recent Metro Council meetings have also been exceptionally divisive—mainly along racial lines—and some have questioned why Broome has not taken a stronger stand on issues that have polarized the council and the larger community.

A spokesman for the St. George effort, Lionel Rainey II, declined to comment on the mayor’s letter, except to say, “It is interesting.”

But sources familiar with the incorporation movement say they believe the first five months of the new administration have only served to build support for the effort, which was narrowly defeated two years ago.

A spokeswoman for the mayor says there is no mystery to the letter. It was simply something the mayor felt needed to be said.

“We see a lot of inflammatory comments in the comment sections of news site and other social media,” says Janene Tate. “It’s very apparent there is division … so this was just a reiteration of a platform she ran on, which is unity, and she strives for and calls for here in Baton Rouge.”

But it’s hard to imagine Broome could have been talking about St. George, seeing as though the St. George people have hardly done or said a thing since Broome took office. On the other hand, Chambers, who has a web site at therougecollection.net, has said plenty. For example

According to an excerpt from The Advocate, “After an 11-month investigation, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded in September that Wilson, Hicks and other supervisors regularly used the word “nigger” and fostered racial hostility in the Constable’s Office.”

The city-parish of East Baton Rouge Parish lost money because of the racism of one member of the Wilson family. Scott Wilson is going to be next in the family line to allow his bigotry to stand in the way of the rights of others.

At last Wednesday’s metro council meeting, Scott Wilson who is the mayor pro-tem of the council abused his power. The role of the mayor pro-tem is to conduct the meeting. Community leaders met and decided to attend the metro council meeting and to oppose the city moving forward with business based on two officers being on administrative leave for the past 10 months after shooting and killing Alton Sterling.

It is the right of a citizen to speak for or against an item at the council. You are allowed 3 minutes to speak on the issue. Scott Wilson abused his power, because when tax paying citizens of this community got up to speak, he shut them down and had them escorted out.

There has been an argument that the council isn’t the right place to protest, or to speak on this issue. The truth is, the council is the perfect place to speak on this issue. Wilson and the other council members approve the budget for the police department, therefor they are spending our tax dollars to continue to pay the officers who killed Alton Sterling.

Here is the problem. Scott Wilson shut the voices of multiple black people who came to the mic to speak against moving forward with the meeting. I was even arrested for demanding that I had a right to speak. Wilson allowed a white woman to stand at the mic for nearly her entire three minutes and speak on the same issue. She spoke about Alton Sterling, she spoke about the metro council doing nothing, and was allowed to speak. Until she said, “I also like how I was not violently removed for standing up here, like the two men before me who stood and spoke. I said the same things, as soon as they said, two black men said, Alton Sterling, July 5th — you guys violently grabbed them and removed them.”

It wasn’t until she called Wilson on his racism and bigotry that he had her removed. The truth is, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in the Wilson family. Scott’s father was a racist who cost the city-parish what today would amount to half a million dollars — and if we allow Wilson to remain in the position his racism and bigotry will cost the tax payers of this community money.

That was published on Wednesday. There was also this…

You’ve got to think the mayor has to see this kind of public personal attack on the president of the Metro Council as frighteningly inappropriate, and perhaps dangerous to her ability to cooperate with the city-parish’s legislative body. Particularly given that Chambers was a member of her transition team and serves on a Citizen’s Advisory Board overseeing police practices, and in an attenuated way can be seen as a representative of Broome.

That has to be a pretty embarrassing fact given the things Chambers lets fly on Facebook…

We agree with the mayor-president. No community can move forward with someone like this holding prominence or influence in it. As we’ve said before, she can’t have herself associated with Gary Chambers, and today’s rebuke was a long time in coming.

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