The mayor of a small town in Florida drew intense criticism for allegedly making a derogatory comment toward a police officer while shopping in a grocery store in mid-January, referring to the officer as a “pig.”
According to The Daily Caller, Eula Clarke is now the former mayor of Stuart, Florida, having resigned her post amid the controversy over her comment.
On Jan. 11, Clarke allegedly quipped, “I didn’t know we were serving pig tonight,” while walking past a Stuart police officer who was also in the store.
“Unfortunately, I made a mistake. We all make mistakes and I am truly and humbly sorry,” Clarke said in a prepared statement before announcing her resignation. Despite relinquishing the mayoralty, she will retain her position on the city commission, at least for now.
That may not last for long, though, as WPTV reported that the city commission voted in favor of hiring an independent investigator to look into the matter and determine whether Clarke’s remark violated any city policies or if she had a history of making derogatory comments toward police officers or other city employees.
As for Clarke’s apology, she seemed to couch it it terms of an excuse that she wasn’t even referring to the officer but merely talking about her dinner plans for the evening, an excuse that many found difficult to accept.
“You keep on bringing up the meat products. Is it that you said it or you didn’t say it? I mean, we’re all confused,” said Sgt. John Kazanjian, president of the Police Benevolent Association, who attended the city commission hearing along with several dozen other residents.
While about 50 residents spoke in Clarke’s defense and asked for compassion for her, city attorney Mike Mortell revealed that the commission had received at least 700 emailed complaints about Clarke’s comment, prompting the vote on an investigation.
The Palm Beach Post reported that Clarke had met with and apologized to the officer she had insulted, which Kazanjian deemed a good “first step.” He nevertheless called for Clarke also to meet with and apologize to the town’s entire police force.
“I want to move on. I want the officers to work for our community,” Clarke said, expressing an openness to the idea. “I want them to believe in what I do as mayor. To believe in what they do for their jobs. I just want to make sure that they know I have their backs.”
However, a statement released by the police union made clear its expectation that Clarke be formally censured for the insulting remark, saying, “Comments such as the one by the mayor do nothing to improve (relations between police and citizens).”
“In fact, they only counteract the great strides made by men and women of the City of Stuart Police Department throughout the community,” the statement added.
The investigation could take up to 30 days to complete, and if it concludes that Clarke was malicious in her intent or has a history of making similar remarks, she could end up losing her commission seat.
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