Do you find the word “thuggish” to be racist when used by a white person to describe a black person?
White GOP Chairman Calls Black Jacksonville Mayor “Thuggish”
Republican Party of Duval County Chairman Rick Hartley clarified Thursday what he meant when he called some actions by Mayor Alvin Brown “thuggish.”
Hartley made the comments after the Florida Times-Union accused one of Brown’s staff members of strong-arming a JEA board member into voting yes on the mayor’s proposed pension plan.
“I regret using that word,” Hartley said. “I’ve been told thuggish is a racial slur.”
Hartley said he meant Brown is acting like a Chicago mayor.
“I understand he needs to sell people his point, but it doesn’t mean, ‘Do it my way or I’ll pull the rug out from under you,'” Hartley said.
He said he sent a letter to the governor’s office and Attorney General’s Office calling for an ethics investigation into Brown. But Channel 4 has contacted both offices and been told the Florida Commission on Ethics looks into those allegations.
“The Attorney General’s Office doesn’t investigate ethics complaints. The Florida Commission on Ethics does,” City Council President Bill Gulliford said. “So in essence, the letter was sent to the wrong place, you’re exactly right. And that’s why I don’t give a whole lot of credence to the letter.”
Gulliford said the call for an investigation distracts city leaders from finding a solution to the pension problem. He does however say he suspects there could be some truth to the JEA board member’s claim, but nothing of any consequence.
“I suspect he was leveraged,” Gulliford said. “That’s inappropriate at best and unethical at worst. It’s pretty sad that we stoop to that.”
During an interview Wednesday night, Hartley told Channel 4 about the letter he wrote to the governor’s office to investigate the mayor over ethical concerns.
“These are volunteers that work and serve on all these boards, and they do important work and it’s disrespectful for the mayor to treat people like this,” said Hartley. “This is thuggish.”