A Georgia county sheriff called the members of Black Lives Matter “domestic terrorists with an agenda” in a statement released Tuesday to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Butch Conway, the sheriff of Gwinnett County, oversees a population of about 877,922, which is estimated to be 59.1 percent white, according to a 2014 estimate by the Census Bureau. The county is approximately 30 miles outside of Atlanta.
Conway said in his statement that white police officer Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed black Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, became “the poster child for alleged police racism and suffered damaging, irreversible life-long consequences” and acted “within policy.”
“It’s not about race,” Conway wrote. “Those inciting riots and committing murders are simply criminals and do not represent the majority of Americans. They are domestic terrorists with an agenda. Their message is that police lives don’t matter, which sure sounds like a hate group to me.”
Shaun King, a blogger advocating against police brutality, posted an open letter to social media in response to Conway’s statement Tuesday afternoon.
“The statement that Sheriff Conway just made is one of the most ignorant, uninformed, and inflammatory statements from a man of his stature in law enforcement that I have ever read. For ‘Butch’ to outright deny the role of race and racism in American policing shows me that he has (sic) head completely in the sand,” King wrote in his statement.
“What Butch wants us all to believe is that police officers across the country call us niggers in their free time, but love us with their whole heart when they are on the job,” he added.
Read King’s full statement:
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 15, 2015