By Jan Worth-Nelson
In the wake of an uproar created by Flint City Councilman Eric Mays repeatedly displaying the Nazi salute at two council meetings this week and allusions to Council President Monica Galloway as Hitler, Galloway (Ward 7) released the following statement:
“As the Flint City Council President, I want to say that, as a council, we do not condone nor support the inappropriate and insensitive remarks and behavior displayed by 1st Ward Councilman Eric Mays. It is my position that any statement or gesture that trivializes the Holocaust is offensive on every level and to everyone. It will never be appropriate to minimize the suffering of others in an effort to propel political agendas.
My only regret is not addressing Councilman Mays immediately during the meeting, and for that I apologize. The statements and gestures by Councilman Mays were unacceptable, they did not go unnoticed, and they will not be tolerated.”
From his chair at the Monday meeting, Mays raised his hand as a Nazi salute, and said, “Miss Galloway, you don’t have to sound like Hitler. What? You want us to do this?” Galloway said and did nothing at that meeting but did make a verbal statement at a second meeting Wednesday, reporting she had received complaints from several citizens and the Flint Jewish Federation.
At the Wednesday meeting, Mays offered no apology, but said he was trying to point out that Galloway was acting like a dictator when she made a ruling on a procedural matter to which he objected.
“It wasn’t no fun, it’s serious business I’m making a point,” Mays said. “When I can’t speak verbally I’ll speak with sign language.”
The next day, Steven Low, executive director of the Flint Jewish Federation, issued a statement saying “I found it highly offensive and I have very sad feelings about it. I feel very sad for Mr. Mays and the people of his ward,”
Low said he was “highly disappointed that an elected official would stoop to use such a gesture to express his anger towards other council members.”
Galloway’s statement was released at sundown Friday, the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.This story was based on previous stories by EVM Staff Writers Melodee Mabbitt and Tom Travis. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.