Cooper City, Fla. (CBS TAMPA) – A city commissioner in Florida is being asked to resign after posting a Facebook status that many in his community deemed racist and demeaning.
The Sun Sentinel reports Cooper City Commissioner John Sims issued a public apology on Tuesday night as his colleagues took turns criticizing him at a city meeting for his “Neanderthal” comment on his social network page. They accused him of stereotyping African-Americans in his post that he called “humorous commentary.”
The comment that Sims posted to Facebook on Nov. 30 read: “Just wanted to let you know…today I received my 2013 Social Security Stimulus Package. It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, two discount coupons to KFC, an ‘Obama Hope & Change’ bumper sticker, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my ass and a ‘Blame it on Bush’ poster for the front yard. The directions were in Spanish. Yours should arrive soon.”
Residents and other city officials expressed their anger over the comments.
“Those comments are 100 percent bitter and ignorant,” resident Gabriel De Gedeon told Cooper City Local 10 News. “I’m shocked that those offensive comments were written by a Cooper City commissioner.”
Newly-elected Mayor Greg Ross also criticized Commissioner Sims and said that he’d received more communications from residents over Sims’ Facebook post than when he won the election last month.
“The residents’ phone calls asked me to please ask him to resign or to fire him,” Ross told the Sentinel. “I don’t have the right to do that. It’s the citizens who vote him in and the citizens’ right to vote him out.”
“To those of you who were genuinely offended, I offer my deepest apology,” said Sims at Tuesday’s city meeting. “Rest assured that I will continue to serve our city well and continue to work equally for all people in Cooper City regardless of religion, ethnicity or social status.”
Resident and Hollywood Assistant Police Chief Jimmy Jones is the one who originally brought the inflammatory Facebook post to the city’s attention, and also called for Sims’ resignation last week. However, Jones said he was open to an apology from the commissioner.
“As a resident in this community since 1999, I want my community served by people who care about everybody in the community,” Jones, who is white, told the Sentinel.
However, resident Christine Timmons defended Sims, saying he should not be humiliated for exercising his right to free speech.
“Every time a white person opens his mouth, people say, ‘Oh, he’s a racist,’” said Timmons, who is black. “He can say what he wants to say. He’s got a right to free speech like anyone else.”