Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rapid City councilman apologizes to broadcaster for making racial comments to her during an interview

A Rapid City, S.D., city council member who made racist remarks to an African-American broadcaster publicly apologized to the reporter this week during a council meeting, Aaron Orlowski of the Rapid City Journal reports. Bill Clayton, right, had questioned KOTA-TV reporter Taisha Walker's citizenship and suggested she be deported to Kenya after she asked him in a telephone interview about an August 2012 vote on property taxes. He said during the apology that he didn't know Walker was African-American when he made the comments.

The council voted unanimously to release an investigative report by the city attorney into two separate incidents involving Clayton. The vote allowed release of an unredacted version of the report without any prior discussion. The investigation was started after two complaints were made against Clayton: one by Walker, and another by Doyle, who alleged Clayton directed comments at her during a lunch for a local political group, the Wingnuts. Clayton denied the latter.

Walker asked Clayton how he planned to vote on a local tax increase, to which she said he asked how she planned to vote in the presidential election. She told Clayton she didn't plan to vote, which she said led him to question her patriotism and ask, "Should we deport you back to Kenya with Obama?" and "Are you even American; are you American?" Clayton said he doesn't watch KOTA news and had not met Walker before the interview. (Read more)

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