UPDATE: Gov. Jim Justice responds to Del. Danielle Walker’s letter
CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) -
Updated Story (Sept. 25. 3:24 pm):
Gov. Jim Justice responded to Del. Walker’s letter urging him to condemn the words and actions of counter-protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kingwood, W.Va.
During Gov. Justice’s routine COVID-19 press conference, he was asked about his response to the letter.
“On one hand you have a situation that is really a state police matter. I asked Col. Cahill to take care of this from the standpoint of a state police matter. He has sent a trooper to her. I think she has has a dialogue and everything in regard to that,” said Gov. Justice.
He also acknowledges the part of Del. Walker’s letter where she asks for a phone call from Gov. Justice.
“The other thing that I did was I also contacted the executive director of our WV Human Rights Commission and they have reached out to her as well. From my standpoint I have done way more than just pick up the phone and talk back and forth. I have taken action. I sent the state police to run to the fire I have sent the director of the WV Human Rights Commission to run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said.
Gov. Justice’s closing response to the situation:
“The only other thing I would add is; whether it be either side, no matter what it be. We do not need to tolerate at any level of hate, hatred and hate speech going on anywhere.”
5 News also spoke to Preston County Commission President Samantha Stone about those events, and although Stone said the commission does not see an immediate need to pass a resolution denouncing white supremacy, Stone said that the conflict was not representative of the county.
“The commission’s stance on this certainty is that all lives matter. Period." Stone said. "And nobody deserves to be disrespected.”
Original Story (Sept. 23. 2:38 pm):
West Virginia Del. Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia) urges Governor Jim Justice to condemn the words and actions of counter-protesters at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kingwood, W.Va.
On Sept. 12., a Kingwood resident organized a Black Lives Matter protest in which Walker participated.
Walker, one of the few Black lawmakers in Charleston, wrote a letter to Gov. Justice explaining her experience at the protest:
“Kingwood could have been the place I took my last breath. An angry mob of White supremacists approached us and pushed many peaceful protestors off the sidewalk. I have been called a N***** before, but never in that tone of voice and with eyes full of rage, looking at me as if I wasn’t American enough. We were called apes. We were told to go back to Africa and that we didn’t belong there. It was an intense walk of a few blocks to get to the courthouse past a crowd of counter protesters screaming ‘All Lives Matter’ and ‘White Power!’”
Delegate Walker goes on to say that she saw Nazi “SS” symbols and swastikas tattooed on some of the counter protestor’s bodies. Walker says she is, “still in the process of dealing with the trauma [she] received in Kingwood, West Virginia, on Saturday, September 12, 2020.”
In the letter addressed to Gov. Justice, Delegate Walker Writes:
“We have heard nothing from our state leaders in response to this attack on free speech. Instead, some of my colleagues in the Senate decided to write a letter to condemn a Marshall University employee who made a hurtful comment in class and to condemn the West Virginia University football team because of a sticker with the letters BLM.”
Walker asks Justice to, “condemn the hate that was illustrated in our Mountain State from these White supremacists.”
Delegate Walker said she does not want a written letter in response from Gov. Justice. Instead, she asks for a phone call and hopes he will mention this in his COVID-19 press conference on Friday.
She ends the letter by saying, “Hate is not making America Great. This Mountaineer does NOT feel FREE.”
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