Harper Woods, Michigan Mayor Kenneth Poynter has resigned following his comments stating that he could understand why someone would become a white supremacist. He issued his resignation letter on Friday (July 31).
“We think it’s in the best interest of the city of Harper Woods that we move on under new leadership in order to maintain and enhance fundamental liberties and rights owed to everyone who comes and visits the city,” attorney John Gillooly told the Metro Times.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Interim City Manager John Szymanski asked Poynter to resign immediately. “Mayor Poynter has given decades of his life to the people of the City of Harper Woods,” Szymanski said in a news release on Thursday (July 30). “His love for the community is not questioned. The amount of time and energy given by Mayor Poynter to this community goes well above and beyond the call of duty.”
He continued, “Recent comments by Mayor Poynter, however, do not reflect the values or beliefs of the administration or residents of the City of Harper Woods. As such, I have personally asked Mayor Poynter to immediately resign from office in order that we can move forward and work on maintaining and improving the quality of life for those who live and visit the City of Harper Woods.”
Poynter has been mayor of the city since 1997. His term was set to expire next year. On Wednesday (July 29), he spoke to the outlet and said, “Unfortunately, I cannot say anything at this moment because of litigation.”
His white supremacist comments came after his wife was allegedly insulted by protesters and got frustrated and ripped down their sign. A few days later, the protesters held a demonstration outside of their home. After his family’s encounters with the protesters, he made the white supremacist comments
Residents and activists Will Smith and Jaye Hill also called for Poynter to resign. Harper Woods Schools Superintendent Steven McGhee called his comments “unprofessional” and “disrespectful,” but said he apologized to them days later.