Hate crime victim calls for mayor to step down

By JAMES PHILLIPS
Posted 6/11/19

A victim of a civil rights hate crime held a press conference Monday morning to call for Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers to resign.The mayor came under fire last week after making hateful comments on …

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Hate crime victim calls for mayor to step down

Posted

A victim of a civil rights hate crime held a press conference Monday morning to call for Carbon Hill Mayor Mark Chambers to resign.

The mayor came under fire last week after making hateful comments on social media toward the LGBTQ community, pro-choice individuals and Democrats in general. John Wesley McCollum, a Jasper resident who was shot in the face in Carbon Hill in 1979 by KKK members, said Monday that Chambers needs to resign immediately.

“When I was gunned down and it was covered up, the city council left town. What this fella is doing is much more dangerous than what they did,” McCollum said. “The world don’t need people like him running a town, city or state. I would ask that the mayor step down peacefully.”

McCollum was joined at the press conference by local clergy and representatives from the local and state branches of the NAACP. A small crowd of area residents also gathered at New Life Christian Church in Jasper, where the press conference was held.

“I’m a resident of Jasper, but I do business in Carbon Hill,” McCollum said. “I still bank in Carbon Hill. My brothers and sisters are in Carbon Hill. I go there two or three times per week, so it is like home to me. Whatever happens there will bleed over to other areas.”

McCollum said he did not want others to suffer as victims of hate crimes, because of the words of the mayor. He also added that Chambers’ apology for his statements was not enough.

“You can’t take it back off the Internet. Once it is there, it is there,” he said. “You can’t take it back, so his apologies do not mean very much to me. He needs to resign.”

McCollum and others in attendance are asking that the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama launch an investigation into Chambers’ comments to see if they could be considered as terrorist threats.

“They need to investigate it, because they are full of hate,” McCollum said. “Someone could get hurt because of what he said.”