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Protesters Demand Mayor Karen Peconi's Resignation After 'Racist' Facebook Posts.

In an attempt to put an end to the protests following the fatal police shooting of the unarmed teenager Antwon Rose Jr. last week, a mayor of Pennsylvania has caused the protesters to organize another rally, this time to demand her resignation from office.

After protests for Rose Jr. refused to die down, Arnold Mayor Karen Peconi took to Facebook to make a number of comments, which have since been deleted, including the suggestion that police should hose down those who call for justice for the teen's death.

"I'm posting this so the authorities everywhere sees [sic] this ... bring the hoses," Peconi reportedly wrote, adding that she wished to see "rioters to be destroyed by a water canon [sic]."

"They don't care about jobs for [Pittsburgh] ... none of them work now. That's how they can do this at 7 a.m. Very sad," Peconi allegedly posted. 

Although she initially tried to shift the blame of posting the inappropriate messages on an aide, she later apologized in a statement to ABC-affiliated (http://www.wtae.com/article/arnold-mayors-facebook-posts-encourage-spraying-protesters-with-water-canons/21941216) WTAE on Thursday. It is not clear when she posted the messages, but screenshots of the posts have been circulating on social media ever since.

"I love this community, I would do anything for the people here. I don't take my position as Mayor lightly and deeply regret the comments I made on Facebook. It was never my intention to offend anyone, and for those who I offended I am sincerely sorry," Peconi said in a statement.

However, her apology did not manage to pacify everyone, who disapproved of her calls for violence. Joseph Bia, one of the five members of Arnold's city council, said Peconi's apology "did nothing for me."

"It's time for her to go. She needs to resign immediately," Phillip McKinley, a councilman, said.

"When she said, 'Those people don't work in the morning,' you knew what she was talking about," McKinley added, (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/394735-pennsylvania-mayor-apologizes-for-calling-for-police-to-use) the Hill reported. "[The] City of Arnold is predominately African-American. We all live side by side. It shouldn't be about race. The comment is not called for, whatsoever."

Two groups 6 Voice of Westmoreland and Concerned People of Color of Arnold and New Kensington 6 organized a seven-hour rally outside the city clerk's office on Thursday, where they called for her resignation because, according to them, Peconi "advocated violence against peaceful protesters and made racist comments." Around 70 Facebook users pledged to participate in the rally.

While most of the protesters yelled well-known slogans like "Black lives matter!" some innovative thinkers came up with never-heard-before lines such as "Old Jim Crow, new Jim Crow, this racist mayor has got to go!" and "We raised our kids, we worked all night, we're side-by-side and we're here to fight!"

However, according to (https://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/13811955-74/rally-calling-for-arnold-mayors-resignation-goes-on-but-mayor-not-at) Tribune-Review , Peconi was not in her office at the time of the protests. The door to her office was closed and her staff said the mayor left in the morning to inquire about some business, but she had not shown up.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jun 29, 2018
Words:519
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