(City of Petal)
A Republican mayor from Mississippi is resisting calls to resign following a series of tweets in which he claimed he “didn’t see anything unreasonable” about the brutal death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a white police officer who kneeled on his neck until he could not breathe anymore.
Petal Mayor Hal Marx tweeted Tuesday that he didn’t understand why “anyone in the world” would choose to become a police officer on the same day four Minneapolis Police Department police officers were fired for their involvement in the incident.
Marx followed up his tweet directly referencing Floyd’s death.
“If you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack. Video doesn’t show his resistance that got him in that position. Police being crucified,” Marx tweeted.
The Petal Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Thursday, voting unanimously to ask for Marx’s resignation, the Clarion Ledger reported.
“Recently, Mayor Hal Marx has taken to social media and repeatedly made comments that have isolated, enraged and belittled individuals in a way that is unbecoming to our city,” Alderman Clint Moore read from a statement.
Residents also called for his resignation, and protests are planned in the coming days.
As Marx addressed the meeting, audience members shouted over him.
Marx, who was first elected mayor in 2009 and entertained an ill-fated run for governor in 2019, told the Hattiesburg American earlier this week that his remarks were misconstrued as racist. He said he was trying to caution people “to get all the facts before they judge” the police.
His Twitter account has since been deleted.
At Thursday’s meeting, he said he and his family received death threats and called people asking for his resignation bullies.
“I will never surrender to the mob mentality,” he said.
In Mississippi, elected officials can only be removed from office if they’ve committed felonies, the Clarion Ledger reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.