NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (NEWS10) — A longtime North Adams City councilman has resigned from public office after making controversial statements about the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus.
“We have the right to freedom of speech, but you don’t have the right to be a racist and sit on the seat and have power,” said Black Lives Matter leader Raymond Moore.
Moore said he was appalled and hurt by comments on the movement made by Councilman Bob Moulton on a public access TV show.
“I think it’s a terrorist organization that wants to get rid of the family as it is,” said Moulton.
He also drew criticism for his remarks on the coronavirus saying, “I think shutting down the country was a huge, huge mistake.”
Among those to condemn the remarks, a fellow councilman Jason LaForest, who’s also a nurse on a COVID recovery floor and has lost 24 patients to the virus.
“It’s disheartening to see and hear an elected official minimize the impact of COVID,” said LaForest.
On Sunday, the Black Lives Matter group marched in protest, and a day later, Moulton resigned from his positions on both the city council and school committee.
“We have to protect the children. A person that has the beliefs like that, that thinks like that, cannot be around kids,” said Moore.
NEWS10 ABC emailed and called Moulton for comment but could not reach him.
“It’s been very sad, very eye-opening. I had hoped to hear some sort of apology but that hasn’t happened, yet,” said LaForest.
He said this is an important example of a community seeking accountability from an elected official.
“We need to confront the racism that has pervaded our country’s history,” said LaForest.
He said a community must work against systemic racism in order to evolve. Moore said the swift reaction shows that the community is changing for the better.
“With the community and the love and the administration and mayor all being supportive, I think we’ve trumped the negative,” said Moore.
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