• City councilwoman won't resign after Facebook post questioning 9/11

    By: Joe Bruno , Mark Barber , Liz Foster

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A Charlotte city councilmember is under fire after posting an article on Facebook that questions the validity of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

    On her personal Facebook page, Councilmember LaWana Mayfield publicly shared a fake news article claiming a scientific journal determined the collapse of the Twin Towers was a controlled demolition.

    Mayfield wrote on Facebook, “I am still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane that opened the doors for US Citizens to loose (sic) all privacy rights (from the conspiracy theorist in me).”

    According to the Associated Press, Mayfield told WFAE-FM that she thought the attacks were used “to not only create a way through government to spy on the American people, but also to privatize a lot of the work that is happening on the ground.”

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    Mayfield later edited her post. She didn't apologize but, instead, defended herself and doubled down on a conspiracy theory that has already been debunked.

    After the post garnered attention on social media, and national newspapers started reporting on it, Mayfield edited her post to say she didn't want to cause controversy but didn't want to delete it. She also emphasized the rights she and others have to freedom of speech.

    People around the country are calling Mayfield's post embarrassing to Charlotte, and there is an online petition calling for her resignation.

    "People lost loved ones," said Charlotte resident Brent Watkins. "Hundreds of people lost loves ones in that crash, so it's almost offensive."

    A city spokesperson said Mayfield is not a 9/11 truther and that she was just asking a question.

    This isn’t Mayfield’s first controversial post.

    Last year, the Democratic District 3 representative sparked a controversy after she sent a tweet comparing President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.

    [RELATED: Charlotte councilwoman sparks controversy with tweet comparing Trump to Hitler]

    Mayfield later apologized for the tweet.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, Mayfield did not apologize for her 9/11 comments and said she will not resign.

    The online petition calling for Mayfield to resign had gained more than 700 signatures as of Thursday morning. People who were personally affected by 9/11 are calling Mayfield’s comments hurtful and offensive.

    Peter Blaich, who is a volunteer firefighter in Cornelius, was working for FDNY on 9/11 in Lower Manhattan.

    “9/11 is still like it happened yesterday,” he told Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster.

    Blaich witnessed the plane hit the north tower and ran toward the chaos to save lives before being dispatched.

    “I buried 43 of my closest friends,” he said. “With comments like that, you need to maybe educate yourself more. But more than that, I think the simplest thing to do is reach out to people who were actually there during the event.”

    “I think it’s absolutely disgusting that someone in public office would make a comment like that,” said Edmund Walker.

    Walker, who lives in Union County, lost his brother-in-law, Steven Coakley, who was killed while he climbed up the Twin Towers to save lives.

    Walker’s family started the Firefighter Steven Coakley Foundation, which places thousands of flags in Romare Bearden Park every September -- one for every person who died in the terrorist attack.

    Walker called Mayfield’s comments incredibly offensive and thinks she should resign.

    “Someone in our leadership that clearly doesn’t believe basic American history is now making decisions for a lot of Charlotteans,” Walker said.

    Councilman Braxton Winston told Channel 9 everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there are repercussions.

    Councilman Tariq Bakhari posted on Twitter: “We have a lot of critical and challenging work on our plate right now, and I don’t have a spare second to be distracted with things that don’t make sense.”

    Full statement from Mayfield:

    "To my Constituents in District 3, by now you have probably seen news articles, heard on the radio or from a neighbor comments regarding a Facebook post I “Shared” on Monday April 16. Below I want to clarify a few things.

    I am reaching out to you directly to provide background on the post and to share my thoughts on a much bigger conversation that We as a community of Black, White, and multiple other identities refuse to have.

    Let's start with the post, this is what I typed originally on a shared post titled: It's Official: European Scientific Journal Concludes 9/11 Was a Controlled Demolition"- written by Conspiracy Theories.

    I originally shared this post on FB with the following. "I am still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the planes that opened the doors for US Citizens to lose all privacy rights (from the conspiracy theorist in me)

    NOW! nowhere in this statement did I speak to the many lives LOST, nor did I speak to the many who still have health issues today from this catastrophic event. I want to be abundantly clear. I am in no way invalidating the impacts felt by many from 9/11 that caused the deaths of more than 3,000 people. I mourn, as an American, and wholly believe that were it not for the brave and heroic efforts of many, more lives would have been lost. I do understand, that a post, while on my personal social media, could be taken out of context or even be misread. While I do oppose limits on privacy and may have questions about certain actions taken by our government, I do not diminish the horrific events of that day.

    I am a BLACK woman in America who sees daily how being Black is the only requirement to be continuously harassed, Killed in the streets, discriminated against in public places and assaulted in America.

    So it is interesting to me many non-people of color have taken offense and read through their own lense of bias my statement. I DO NOT FEEL ANY SAFER today in America after giving up our privacy.

    Go back to a 2014 blog on Huffington post and updated in December 2017 written by Peter Van Buren titled: "What We've Lost Since 9/11 /what-burenhttps://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van-weve-lost-since-911_b_5497673.html or watch the Michael Moore film from 2004 titled Fahrenheit 9/11 https://michaelmoore.com/movies/fahrenheit-911/ this topic has been debated many a time by White America and beyond but that also was not the focus of my post.

    Personally, I am TIRED as an American, I am Tired as a Black American.

    I committed to YOU that I would be transparent, not lie to you and to address concerns in our community to the best of my ability. I did NOT say I would stop having my own opinions or stop being BLACK nor will I forget as James E Baldwin once said that "To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage"

    Many have shared many views, comments, and insults through the course of the past two days. I understand the passion surrounding this issue. I challenge those who delivered vitriol to be as passionate and angry with what is happening in our country. Although civil discussion is essential in any democracy, unfortunately, I saw name-calling, instant disenfranchisement and even some racial overtones of disgust. I respect your right to your thoughts, answers, and disgust in the course of this post. I did not delete it for that reason.

    It seems far too often that We as African Americans or Black people are not to have an opinion and with that in mind, my sharing of the post was me sharing multiple questions I still (while wearing my conspiracy theory hat which many of us wear but I am acknowledging) have regarding my safety after the trampling of "The First Amendment" which- was meant to make one thing indisputably clear: free speech was the basis for a government of the people. Without a free press, as well as the ability to openly gather, debate, protest, and criticize, how would the people be able to judge their government’s adherence to the other rights? How could people vote knowledgeably if they didn’t know what was being done in their name by their government? An informed citizenry, Thomas Jefferson stated, was “a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

    I sincerely hope that the effort and energy put into the engagement on this post can be put toward voting, volunteering and tackling issues such as housing, safety, and small business growth. I hope that the disgust and unbelief shown towards me will be posted and shouted from the rooftops when there are issues of homelessness, poverty-stricken neighbors and violence in our City not being met with solutions by our government.

    My record is clear. I work hard for the citizens of District 3 and the City of Charlotte. Defining the work that I have done and continue to do by one post on my personal social media is unacceptable. One post does not make the person, it is merely a thought or question especially when that post is misrepresented. I have no intention to resign and will continue to serve the citizens that elected me to work for them.As your representative, you are all very important to me, service to this community is important to me and I do not want that overlooked. I will continue to fight against injustice and misrepresentation including for those who disagree with me. The beauty of our District is the Diversity and I believe there are communal issues we can address together and I will continue to fight for those issues as well."

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