California mayor resigns amid backlash over defense of local police

Earlier this month, the mayor of a small city in Northern California expressed the opinion that, despite the anti-law enforcement protests sweeping the nation, there was no need to enact significant police reforms in her own community.

However, those sentiments resulted in a significant backlash, and this week, Healdsburg, California Mayor Leah Gold announced her resignation, according to the Washington Examiner.

Backlash forces resignation

Gold said in a Facebook statement on Tuesday that she would be stepping down from her position on the city council effective June 30 but would stay on as mayor until the end of the year.

“The murder of George Floyd has shone a bright light on America’s systemic racism, and particularly on how some police officers routinely treat BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) people with bias, abuse, and violence,” she wrote.

According to the Washington Examiner, the controversy began after Gold “and the majority of her colleagues on the City Council refused to have a formal discussion about police use-of-force policies.”

Gold’s stance on the issue resulted in a petition signed by 1,800 people calling for her to step down, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.

“There is tremendous momentum for substantive change, and I welcome it. I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement and am eager to consider and adopt policies that advance its goals,” Gold declared.

Mayor calls for diversity

The local politician then said that she would be vacating her seat on the council and expressed her desire that a member of a minority community would take her spot.

“As I’ve considered how I can help Healdsburg advance in racial justice during this critical juncture, I believe that one of the ways I can contribute is by creating a space for a person of color to join the city council,” Gold stated, going on to express her “hope that one or more BIPOC resident will step forward as a candidate” for the soon-to-be-vacant council seat.

Gold concluded by saying, “I believe that if more diverse leadership is one of the things we accomplish in this moment, it will be an important step forward for our city.”

She reiterated that message during an interview with the Press Democrat, telling the paper, “I feel, considering the council has some major work ahead to respond to the community and work on these issues of racial equity, that I seem to be a target, and they may be more effective if I’m out of the picture.”

According to the Examiner, Gold previously described calls for police reform — at least in her local area — “a solution looking for a problem.” Many of her fellow Americans would find it hard to disagree.

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