The Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, apologized after being widely criticized for her private message to police that praised their efforts amid the protests and riots that followed the death of George Floyd
“Black lives matter. I believe deeply in this and yet I failed to center this in my message to the police department.” Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway said in a video and statement posted to the City of Madison’s website. “I realize that this action has done deep harm to the Black community and for this, I apologize.”
Urban Triage, a black empowerment group, posted the initial video to police on their Facebook page with a comment saying, “Does this sound like a woman you can trust … I think she’s great as a politician. Playing both sides at the same time. She don’t care about Black people that’s for sure. Its implied in her words.”
The group went on to decry “white liberal Madison” as “problematic.” They later posted her video apology with the comment, “This is what WHITE SUPREMACY RACISM looks like. Its insidious.” (RELATED: Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez Says ‘Racism Has Been A Plague’ On America)
Another group, We Stand With The Madison Police Department, posted the same video apology to their Facebook page but instead said, “Outrageous! She caves and apologies for a video she made to police officers thanking them for enduring racial slurs, bricks being thrown at them, being spit on, having flaming garbage thrown at them – and she has to apologize for thanking them for standing out there.”
In a later post, the group said that a local NBC affiliate approached them for comment but never ran it. “We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to MPD officers who do their best with what they’ve got. The released video has angered all sides for its lack of sincerity.”
In her apology Rhodes-Conway encouraged others to read her blog that she said she adds to regularly to increase transparency and help the community hold her accountable, according to ABC affiliate WKOW.
“She has deceived her constituency,” activist Nada Atman Steele said, according to WKOW. “She’s pitting people against each other for her political benefit.”