NBA star Tobias Harris has called for the resignation of a Pennsylvania public official who labeled Black Lives Matter a “radical left wing hate group.”
Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale released a statement on Monday condemning George Floyd protests in Philadelphia as “a riot.”
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Montgomery County sits just northwest of Philadelphia and is the third largest in Pennsylvania.
Gale also criticised Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and police commissioner Danielle Outlaw as sympathetic to Black Lives Matter.
The shock comments have been widely condemned, and now Harris has added his voice to the outrage.
“I honestly can’t believe what I’m reading,” Harris tweeted in response to the statement.
“@JoeGalePA Black Lives Matter a hate group?! This statement and your whole press release at that is disgusting to read. RESIGN!”
“True colors.... welcome to PA!” he said.
Petition also calls for Gale’s resignation
Gale’s statement echoes those of President Donald Trump and US Attorney General William Barr, who have labelled ‘agitators’ as participating in ‘domestic terrorism’ during the nationwide George Floyd protests.
Harris’ call for Gale to resign prompted a Change.org petition demanding his resignation.
“This statement demonstrates Commissioner Gale’s bias (sic) nature and presents statements that are not backed by evidence but instead divisive, racially charged opinions,” the petitions reads.
“Black Americans comprise approximately 9.9% of the county's population.
“Therefore, his utter assertion that the Black Lives Matter movement, which is successfully and peacefully raising awareness about the unlawful killings of Black Americans, is a ‘radical left-wing hate group’ that is the ‘perpetrator’ of the urban domestic terror is not only inaccurate but damaging to the safety and well-being of his constituents.”
At the time of publishing, the petition had gathered 45,000 of the 50,000 signature target - Harris’ included.
As a former resident of Montgomery County, this is deplorable.— Locals to Rateds (@local2rated) June 2, 2020
You cannot sit idly by and allow racist individuals like Joseph Gale to be in high positions of power. Please, I implore you to email him (attached in statement) and call at (610)278-3020 to flood his inbox. https://t.co/IY9vL7miuw
1/Today I am embarrassed to be a resident of @MontcoPA. Look at this racist and hate filled letter sent out by bigot Republican county Commissioner Joseph C. Gale. This is why cities are burning. This is why oppression happens in government. This is why we fight. What an asswipe pic.twitter.com/ZSFi4FatTC— Kareem E. Thomas (@KareemEThomas) June 2, 2020
Joseph C. Gale, a member of the Board of Commissioners in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, released a statement calling Black Lives Matter a “radical left-wing hate group” that perpetrates “urban domestic terror.” This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/OvZ81caLIm— BLM (@finn_connor4) June 2, 2020
Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County Commisioner - Joseph Gale - issues a press release; calls #BlackLivesMatter a “radical left-wing hate group”— julian castillo (@HungryAndAngry) June 2, 2020
An absolutely appalling message from @MontcoPA .
Twitter, please - help in sending a few emails to firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/kiSfcrEADx
Harris, 27, joined Ben Simmons and the 76ers in 2019 in a midseason trade from the Los Angeles Clippers.