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Armistead Appalled by Janet May’s Comments on Ferguson

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead called recent comments by Janet May implying that the Ferguson, Missouri riots could help Democrats in the fall elections, “appalling” and called Janet May, “An embarrassment to the State of Alabama.” The GOP Chairman also urged Birmingham Mayor William Bell not to go to Ferguson.

Janet May represents the Alabama Democratic Party on the Democratic National Committee, which met last week in nearby Atlanta, Georgia. May is the host of Montgomery area local talk radio show, Alabama Issues. May is a former Montgomery City Council woman.

ALGOP Chairman Bill Armistead said in a written statement, “I am appalled to hear the comments made by Janet May. Only the Democrats would use a tragedy like what is going on in Ferguson to further their success. If this is the woman Democrats in Alabama chose to represent them, it is no wonder the Alabama Democratic Party is falling apart.”

Chairman Armistead continued, “Janet May’s plan may be the real reason Birmingham Mayor William Bell has announced that he wants to head to Ferguson. He said he was asked to visit the town in an effort to bring understanding to the issue. Citizens should voice their opposition to Bell’s plans to go to Missouri to help them solve their problems. There is no shortage of problems right here in Birmingham for him to solve. Mayor Bell should not neglect his own city to further the DNC’s political plan in Missouri.”

An angry Chairman Armistead concluded, “Janet May is an embarrassment to the State of Alabama and should be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. She should immediately apologize for her remarks. Her total disregard for the gravity of the situation mirrors that of President Obama, who is too concerned with his golf game to handle this national crisis.”

Janet May said that the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, where a young Black man was shot to death by a White police officer sparking a week of protests, riots, and looting, created a state of racial unrest that could potentially help the Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

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May reportedly said, “If we can’t take that scenario and roll it into a message for our party, we just need to pack it up and go home. Because we have been grasping for a message.”

Early media reports were that on August 9 an unarmed Michael Brown who was going to start college soon to be an air conditioning and heating technician was shot by a White Ferguson police officer. Some witnesses claimed that the unarmed Brown had his hands up to surrender when he was shot. This sparked enormous outrage in the community and around the country leading to protests that lasted long into the night and led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the town by vandals and looters, many of whom have come from out of state. The response by Ferguson Police was criticized as being too aggressive. Eventually the state police, backed up the National Guard, had to takeover security for the besieged town. On Friday the National Guard announced it was leaving Ferguson.

In recent days, allegations have emerged that Brown struck the officer in the face first and attempted to take the police officer’s gun. Other eye witnesses claim that Brown was charging the officer when the policeman was forced to unload six rounds into the 6’3” 296 pound attacker.

Supporters of the police officer, Darren Wilson, have raised over $339,000 to this point for his legal defense.

There is enormous disagreement about what happened that night in Missouri. Ultimately, it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether Officer Wilson acted properly that night or not; but many people’s passions have been raised by Brown’s death and the events in Ferguson on both sides.

Chairman Armistead concluded, “The American people have been gripped by reports from Ferguson for weeks. We should all be praying for peace, not using racial strife for political gain. The community of Ferguson deserves our respect.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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