From Mayor Terry Tornek:
On the evening of Friday, October 23, a group of demonstrators came to my home to present demands related to the officer-involved shooting death of Anthony McClain.
I went out to talk with them at the sidewalk and to respond to their demands, but was immediately shouted down. References made to important police oversight reforms were dismissed, so I returned to my home.
What followed was not a vigil for Mr. McClain, but a loud effort to intimidate and attack me personally. I was subjected to obscene chants and personal insults for an extended period of time. The focus was largely not on Mr. McClain, but rather about promoting the agenda of the event spokesperson and organizer, and compelling me to have a variety of criminal charges pending against her dropped.
The group left candles and signage. Sometime later, my wife and I moved the candles from the street right-of-way and relocated them onto the curb with the others so that a car wouldn’t run into them. We also removed the signage, some of which included references to murder and “killer cops.”
This event was not a prayerful vigil for Anthony McClain. This was an event using the emotional upheaval and genuine grief over Mr. McClain’s death to advance another agenda through intimidation.
Having a place for people to mourn and grieve Mr. McClain is real and valid. I support it; but when I tried to discuss alternatives, this group would have none of it. I believe that the appropriate place for mourning would be at one or more churches, not on Raymond Avenue or my home.
I appeal to our clergy to offer a location—or even multiple locations—for such a memorial. Church locations could meet a real need without becoming hot spots for violence. I invite our pastors to host a forum at one of their churches to discuss the idea. I look forward to having a conversation there with all who are interested.
We need to come together as a community.