Simi Valley Councilman Apologizes For Facebook Post Calling For Protesters To Be Hosed Down
On Monday, Simi Valley City Councilman Mike Judge posted a meme of protesters on Facebook with this caption: "Wanna stop the riots? Mobilize the septic tank trucks, put a pressure cannon on 'em, and hose 'em down. The end."
Judge later removed the post and told CBS News that the meme was a joke: "That's all I wanted to do, was make fun of the mask wearing, but obviously people didn't take it that way. I don't think I did anything wrong, except maybe post a joke that was in bad taste."
Several community members responded online by sharing screenshots of the message and asking Judge to resign. That sentiment was echoed at today's protests in Simi Valley, where demonstraters marching about two miles to City Hall.
In an additional post, which was later deleted and then re-posted with an apology, the councilman responds to a local black teenager, who asked for his support for today's protest. (It was organized by a high school.)
"As a young black teenager who was raised and attended public schools in Simi Valley, I would greatly appreciate your support as a young resident of this city," Mikiiya Foster wrote. "It would mean a lot to me and to the youth of this community if you were to come to our peaceful protest for solidarity on Saturday, June 6, 2020...I think this would be a great way to show that you stand with not only the black people of your community, but minorities across the board. As a community member, I do not want to see any violence or destruction of our community. If you were to #walk with us you would send a great message showing that Simi officials stand with all members of the community and support a more inclusive society."
Here is an excerpt from Judge's response:
I am very hard pressed to find one example of a truly peaceful protest. Almost all of the protest to date, have turned to Violence and destruction. You stated that you did not want this to happen in your home town? To date we (The City of Simi Valley) have have been targeted on social media platforms with threats of violence and with blatant acts of destructive graffiti in our city. Most people that live in Simi Valley choose to because it doesn't have the problems of larger metropolitan areas and for the safety and security of small town living.
In the post, he declined her invitation to attend the protest, but said he supported her right to do so, and said he would not stand for racism of any kind.
On June 4, Judge said he "erroneously" deleted the post from his public Facebook page, and decided to re-post it "in the interest of transparency."
"I apologize for it having gone missing," he said.
Simi Valley has a complicated history with racism in Southern California. In 1992, the trial for the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King was moved from Los Angeles to Simi Valley, after claims that jury members in L.A. would be too biased.
The four officers were found not guilty. There were no black-identifying members of the jury, which was made up of nine white members, one biracial, one Latino and one Asian.
In his reponse to Foster, Judge defended Simi Valley's reputation from the Rodney King trial, which he said was moved to his city "so the court could have access to an untainted jury pool."
He said he feels that since then, the city has been "branded unfairly."
On June 1, Judge posted a message from Simi Valley's mayor, Keith Mashburn, which was a reponse to a letter he wrote to the mayor earlier in the week, expressing "deep concern" for Saturday's protest. Mashburn said the city was well prepared to handle the event and that the police department would be there to "assist those exercising their free speech rights."
Judge said he was concerned after the Simi Valley Police Department received several calls threatening to "riot and loot" in the area. A police department spokeperson shared these concerns and asked the community to share information about potential civil unrest with officers.
In 2013, Judge was criticized for posting links to topless and naked women on his Facebook page. Judge defended himself, saying: "There's no porn on my Facebook page."
Judge spent 30 years working for the Los Angeles Police Dept., and has served in both the U.S. Army and the National Guard.
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