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Board of Aldermen condemns Hawley, other perpetrators, in riot at Capitol

A resolution unanimously approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Friday lashes out at Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley “and those who incited and participated in the attempted coup on the nation’s Capital” on Wednesday.

In a half-hour discussion during Friday’s video meeting, board members angrily condemned the rioters and laid blame on what leaders have said in the last four years, as well as a general tone that has long existed in this country. Some said white people involved in Wednesday’s disruptions were treated much more respectfully than Black protesters in other demonstrations.

“We were taught to try to love. None of that has been shown in the last four years of this presidency,” 19th Ward Alderwoman Marlene Davis said. 

“All of those people [Wednesday] have been put in a position to believe lies,” Davis said. Referring to President Donald Trump, she said, “This person had an agenda that was not healthy for the United States of America.”

It’s important that people remember those who lost their lives, Davis said. “We can never, ever look back and be comfortable with those actions that took place.”

The resolution said that “Sen. Hawley has openly and brazenly shown a disavowal of the U.S. Constitution and the duties that are prescribed to his office; and Sen. Hawley sought to overturn the results of a democratic election and put partisan politics ahead of country,” the resolution said.  

That document also said that “[T]he rally turned into a riot onto the Capitol Building, resulting in a lockdown of the Congress, significant damage to the building and the death of four individuals.” 

“These acts were incited by the continuous and purposeful spread of misinformation by elected officials on the federal level,” the resolution continued. “As elected officials, we are sworn in to represent the truth and to support and defend the Constitution. Regardless if we like the facts or not, truth is the cornerstone of ethics, and we have an obligation to the people to share the truth.”

Twenty-Fourth Ward Alderman Bret Narayan was particularly upset at what happened. 

“I’m angry about this situation. I know that the vast majority of my constituents are angry,” Narayan said. What happened was seditious, he said. 

Twenty-Second Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd said what happened in Washington made him wonder whether the city should look more closely at City Hall security. 

“Maybe we can turn this country around, and we can bring civility to politics,” Boyd said. “And maybe we can all in unison say this is the greatest country on earth, and we are proud to be Americans, but what I saw the other day does not make me proud to be an American.”

Eighth Ward Alderwoman Annie Rice and 15th Ward Alderwoman Megan Green said the police reaction showed how law enforcement treats people of color more harshly than whites.

“When Black and brown people are protesting for their lives, they are met with militarized police,” Rice said. She spoke of “the discrepancy that our Capitol building was so easily overrun when it was majority white protesters.”

While he supported the resolution, 17th Ward Alderman Joseph Roddy said this was a good time for self-reflection.

“It was not too long ago that elected officials from the city of St. Louis led crowds in protests to the steps of our own mayor, had bricks thrown through her window, paint thrown on her house, and I can’t imagine anything as intimidating as that happening,” Roddy said. “I think it is a good time for all of us to think about toning this down a little bit.”

Major donor denounces Hawley

A businessman from Joplin, Mo., who helped bankroll Hawley’s first campaign denounced him on Thursday as a “political opportunist” who used “irresponsible, inflammatory, and dangerous tactics” to incite the rioting.

In a statement late Thursday, David Humphreys, president and CEO of Tamko Building Products, added his voice to a growing chorus of Republicans angry at Hawley for leading a challenge to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

Humphreys called on the U.S. Senate to censure Hawley “for provoking yesterday’s riots in our nation’s capital.”

The Missouri Independent contributed to this report.

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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