In the town of Stuart, Florida, the mayor stepped down after allegedly using a slur to refer to an individual police officer Wednesday.
Mayor Eula Clarke made the announcement during a public hearing, adding that she would only be serving as city commissioner from now on, reports WPTV.
“Unfortunately, I made a mistake. We all make mistakes and I am truly and humbly sorry,” Clarke said in the statement.
The incident involving the police officer happened Jan. 11. Clarke allegedly said “I didn’t know we were serving pig tonight” in reference to a Stuart police officer standing near her.
Clarke reportedly sent a letter to the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association apologizing for her comments.
Approximately 50 residents defended Clarke at Wednesday’s public hearing, with many urging compassion and understanding for the mayor. Almost 700 emails have poured in over the accusations, City Attorney Mike Mortell said.
“You need to show some compassion. She probably said it in a joking manner,” one resident said.
Some have said that the comments were taken out of context; Clarke was just referring to her dinner, locals said.
“You keep on bringing up the meat products. Is it that you said it or you didn’t say it. I mean, we’re all confused,” Sgt. John Kazanjian, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, said at the meeting.
The city plans to get an independent investigator to ensure that Clarke has not done this in the past and to figure out what she meant. All the city commissioners but Clarke voted for the investigation.
“It’s not for the purpose of punishing anybody. It’s making sure that the work environment at the city is free from the perception of hostility,” Mortell explained.
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