June 24, 2020

Allen County Councilman Who Called Protesters 'Uneducated' Resigns

The Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne. - Charles W. Chapman/CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne.

Charles W. Chapman/CC-BY-SA-4.0

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A northeastern Indiana county councilman has resigned days after he sparked outage by saying during a council meeting that Black Lives Matter protesters were “uneducated” and lamented that they “breed.”

Republican Allen County councilman Larry Brown resigned Monday and a replacement will be appointed to complete the remainder of his term, which ends Dec. 31, 2022, said Steve Shine, chairman of the Allen County Republican Party.

“His remarks were indefensible,” Shine told The Journal Gazette.

He said Brown submitted his resignation via text message after the pair had several conversations throughout the weekend.

Numerous groups had demanded Brown resign after he said made the comments last Thursday during a council meeting where members discussed whether they should issue a statement regarding the protests.

“As uneducated as they are, obviously, on local government, they do vote and unfortunately, they also breed. But, they do vote, and they’re going to be an uneducated voter," Brown said during the meeting in remarks captured by video cameras and broadcast via Facebook Live.

Brown later apologized for his remarks, saying that they “were totally inappropriate and out of place."

Brown said via email Tuesday morning in response to a request for comment from The Associated Press that he no comment on his decision to resign, adding, “Everything I say is being taken out of context and used against my family and me."

Residents and activists outraged by Brown’s comments called for his resignation, and an online petition demanding he step down received about 10,000 signatures. A protest had been planned for outside Brown’s home Monday if he refused to resign.

Council President Joel Benz said Monday that he appreciated Brown’s decision to resign, calling it the right choice and the “only way forward.”

“But Mr. Brown’s resignation does not solve the challenge laid bare by Thursday’s meeting. Allen County Council will continue to consider ways to make local government more inclusive, more understanding and more representative of our very diverse community,” Benz said in a Facebook statement.

Misti Meehan, chairwoman of the Allen County Democratic Party, said Monday she believed that Brown had no other option than to resign.

“It’s 2020, and we’re in the middle of a global Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “This isn’t about making an example. It’s about setting a bar.”

Brown’s comments, she said, “do not meet the minimum requirement for (the behavior of) an elected official.”

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