TEMECULA (CNS) – The mayor of Temecula has resigned after responding to a question about police violence with an answer that included the phrase “…I don’t believe there’s never been a good person of color killed by a police officer,” a response that sparked an intense backlash.
James Stewart announced his resignation on Facebook Thursday night.
“City of Temecula, I hear you, I agree with you, and I am deeply sorry,” Stewart said.
“I owe everyone an apology including our citizens of all backgrounds and ethnicities, city staff, and my respected colleagues on the City Council.
“You have every right to be hurt and offended.
“My typos and off-the-cuff response to an email on a serious topic added pain at a time where our community, and our country, is suffering.
“I may not be the best writer and I sometimes misspeak, but I am not racist.
“I deeply regret this mistake and I own it, entirely. I am truly sorry.
“I understand that even my sincerest apologies cannot remedy this situation. Because actions speak louder than words, I will step down as your Mayor and City Council Member effective immediately.
“It has been a true honor to serve this great City and its citizens. My love for Temecula and its residents is beyond expression.”
Stewart said in a Facebook post Wednesday he doesn’t know how the word “good” got into his voice text response.
He went on to say in his voice text answer that “racism is not (accepted) or tolerated in the City of Temecula” and that he has “several good friends who are African-Americans, and they love living here because how safe it is for them and their families.”
Stewart said on Facebook he is “very well known for my dyslexia so I voice text everything” and he “did not take the time to proofread what was recorded.”
He added that he “absolutely did not say” what came out in the voice text. He said that his message was “I don’t believe there has ever been a person of color murdered by police (in) context to Temecula or Riverside county. I absolutely did not say ‘good.’ I have no idea how that popped up.”
Stewart asked for forgiveness and reiterated that “racism is tolerated at any level in the city or the county.”
There were protests in 1998 over the shooting of Tyisha Miller, a black woman, by Riverside police.
Mayor Pro Tem Maryann Edwards called Stewart a “hard-working and honest man” and that the city accepted his resignation.