Fire Shirley Owen for her Racially Charged Comment and Threat to Shoot Us.
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On December 10, 2014, a group of protesters, including children, held a silent demonstration at the San Diego City Council Inauguration. The protest was against police brutality and to declare that black lives matter. The protest did not cause any disruption to the ceremony because it was held silently. After the ceremony was complete 4 of 9 City Councils member commended the group of protestors on how respectful they were of the inauguration ceremony.
Sometime after the ceremony a reporter from KPBS heard Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s Community Representative, Shirley Owen, called the protesters “f***ing idiots with their hands up” and said, “I wanted to shoot them”. Following an outrage by the protesters and online, the city suspended Shirley Owen.
These comments are deplorable and should not be accepted by anyone working in a Public office position. They are especially egregious as Owen is a city employee and was on the city’s clock when she made them which means tax-payers are paying her salary. We don’t want our money to fund violence and hate speech.
We are not only protesting our right to live, but also the type of institutional racism that leads to our deaths. We’re fighting the narrative that black people are inherently violent and worthy of death, Owen’s comments represent in large part the reason why we protested at the City Council Inauguration and why we will not relent.
To continue to employ Shirley Owen’s is to set a precedent that allows city employees to spew violent, bigoted language while still maintaining a job. The normal standard for a San Diego City employee who issues a threat is to suspend them without pay for a period of 30 days pending an investigation. Council Woman Lorie Zapf suspended Owen for two weeks and refuses to fire her.
This could be an incredible opportunity for Zapf to show the public that she does not support the type of hateful and racially charge statements coming from her staff member but she refuses to fire her. Let’s send Council Memeber Lorie Zapf and the entire San Diego City Council a resounding message that we will not stand for this type of behavior from a Public official. We demand the immediate firing of Shirley Owen!
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